Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My Future

The other night as we were falling asleep I said to Brent, I wonder what we will look like in 50 years.
Today I saw it.
The kids and I were at the YMCA leaving swimming lessons.
There was an elderly couple walking around the sidewalk outside.  She had braces on her ankles and he was holding her arm to keep her stable. They were both pretty tall and thin for as old as they were, and she would apologize every so often that he had to walk so slow for her.
Yes, that is my future, if my latest hikes with my husband are any indicator.  "I'm sorry you have to walk so slow for me." I have absolutely no stamina after this last pregnancy. I couldn't even swim a lap, my endurance is so low!
Speaking of which I need to go work out, my lungs need some cardiovascular work.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I and A

Oh my goodness if I could sit on the couch all day long with these two boys, I would. I use to, when school was in session, and I loved it. Now our lives are in summer chaos mode.  My mom made these shirts for my boys. 
 I'm surprised at how much these boys love each other. Ikey lights up when he see Mr. A trying to play with him.  This smile is for real he was so happy to be next to his brother.
 Too bad these pictures aren't one.  Mr. A adores his baby. He makes sure I take good care of his baby. I tell him he is such a lucky boy to have his own baby.  You know must under two year olds don't have a baby sibling. Sure I know a handful of women who have had babies 18 months apart or less, but nothing compared to those over 20 months apart.
Honestly to me these boys don't look that much alike.  Sure brothers, but most of the features actually are slightly different.  But it seems they both have red hair. My baby is almost 6 months old, and I still forget his name sometimes. Does that make me pathetic? Maybe. I can't remember Mr. A's birthday, so you know it all equals out. We ran out of baby boy names, because I didn't want another A name or another J name (or L, N, B, Z, M or D). Ike's name was the only thing we both agreed on, but we weren't settled on it, on day 2 of life we just took the plunge.  We wanted to leave the hospital with a name on the birth certificate so we just did it.  When people say his name, it often takes me a minute to figure out who they are talking about.  Although its not just him, I didn't call my daughter by her legal name for at least 6 months.  She was always Nattie Anne, because I didn't think her name fit her.  I actually wondered if she would ever go by her given name. I honestly don't know if I regularly called her given name until she started school. But with her I knew who people were referring to, with Ike, I'm at a loss.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Baby Portrait

Today my daughter got out some paper and a clipboard and informed me she was going to draw the baby.  I was holding him, and so she took a good look at him and got to work.
When I directed her to draw his ears, she made them HUGE. I said they look like bat ears. She said no fairy ears. Its a fairy, we said it looks like a bat. So then she added more wings and I said it looks like a butterfly now.  She didn't like that so she started over.
She did his big head.
Then big eyes
Teeny nose
Big Smile
then ears
(She narrated as she went along.)
 When she got to his tiny toes and hands, I asked her to count his fingers.  She counted five, I asked how many she drew? She said three, then she added three more for a grand total of 6. I'm not sure why, but she thought it was funny.  Then I asked about his toes, she said no, he only gets four toes. She then drew his bottle.  (She thinks I'm ruining her life since I don't give him a bottle.) Then I helped her write his name, but apparently she decided she didn't like it and crossed it out.

Drawing/Writting

To me it seems like my daughter's writting/drawing skills are a little delayed, but that's just because I'm comparing her to above average 5 year olds. I know plenty of 5 year olds who can't draw people or write letters.  Anyway, I'm super thrilled for her, she has started to draw people in COLOR!
The day we left town she got a Disney Princess Book from the library for completing her summer reading program. In the car she drew some princesses. 
I knew this was Rapunzel.
 I also knew this was Tiana.
Then she drew herself.

 A few days ago, she drew this person. She told me they had a helmet on and headphones.
I love these pictures!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Babies

The blog is in some need of some cuteness. I took these pictures about a month ago. 
Ike - 4 months old
My life exhausts me.  I feel like I'm in a new stage of life, and so that is alarming, I'm not going to get into it now, but lets just say I feel unsettled. Maybe its because I turn 30 in two months.  Maybe its my third of life crisis.
But what really exhausts me, is every month since January- that is 6 months just so you know, at least two people in the family have been sick.  Say WHAT?! We are never sick, and now, I just don't even know. Its tiring! While we are adjusting to a new baby/six people in the family someone is ALWAYS sick.  I thought it would stop after May because of summer.  But it hasn't. Plus the two youngest boys have had residual  coughs since their colds in May. They just can't shake them.  They have both seen the doctor in the last month, and the doctor says they are fine, just left over congestion.  But boy is it BLAH! Plus Brent has traveled A LOT lately.  Anyway, life will go on.
Just look at those dreamy brown eyes.  All four of my boys have dark brown eyes, and I love it.  Just for the record I feel so blessed to have three sons.  Boys are awesome.  Have no fear I adore my daughter too.
Don't mind Ikey's face he always looks like that.
The appeal of my boys has nothing to do with patriarchy or anything like that. I just grew up with lots of brothers, so boys make more sense to me than girls. I've never understood the appeal of dressing up (even as a small girl), or playing princess. I was never very good at being friends with lots of girls. Playing cars and watching construction sites makes more sense to me. I love that I don't have to do more than one person's hair on Sunday morning, and that four people in the family wear the same outfit every single Sunday.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Mid Summer Reading

I went to El Salvador with my husband and four month old baby.  El Salvador is a third world country. (I believe the phrase third world country is not Political Correct, its now developing nation, but honestly that phrase doesn't make a lot of sense, it every day conversation.) Anyway, third world country, they recommend having an MMR before you go.  A four month old is too young, was I worried about my infant getting measles, not really.  I was petrified that I had nothing to read on my flight.  Then my husband said Shadow of the Hegemon.  My stress level dropped, life would be fine, I had a book interesting enough to read, long enough I wouldn't finish, and small enough I had room on my carry on. (By the way I researched the MMR more, and as my husband said, our baby would be more likely getting measles in California than in El Salvador.  Which by my limited research is correct. Especially since Washington State had an outbreak recently. Anyway back to mid summer reading.
Shadow of the Hegemon (Ender's Shadow, #2)Shadow of the Hegemon by Orson Scott Card
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my favorite Ender book.  I read all the Ender's Game series, then Ender's Shadow and now this one.  This is my favorite.  I like the politics, I like the lack of battle tactics, and lack of space talk.  I like Bean.  I like him a whole lot more in this one that in Ender's Shadow. I also like Petra a whole lot more in this book.  It was intriguing to hear a different side of Peter in this series.  My favorite part of the book was when Bean talked with Mrs. Wiggins.  Something always seemed off about the parents, and this cleared up the loose ends.


View all my reviews
And then I read a book, that has probably resulted in the longest good reads review, I've ever written.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed reading this book, it was quite interesting.  My one complaint is if you don't have conservative leanings or a large family you would take this book as utter nonsense.  The author is almost too pop culture in his writing, he puts too many parenthetically opinions into the text. If it wasn't so opinion based I think it would be a much better argument.  Then again it might have not sold as well, as the reading would have been drier.
One of the interesting thing that the book brings up is how many people are still concerned about overpopulation of the Earth.  When almost all developed nations have declining birth rates, and the developing nations are expected to have declining birth rates sooner than their standard of living reaches first world standards.  Economically speaking declining birth rates is terrible for a nation.
In explaining about declining birth rates, the author brings up "Youth Bulges" which I found fascinating so I'm going to focus my review around this topic.  A google search will tell you, "a youth bulge is a common phenomenon in many developing countries... It is often due to a stage of development where a country achieves success in reducing infant mortality but mothers still have a high fertility rate. The result is that a large share of the population is comprised of children and young adults." The phrase was coined by Gunnar Heinsohn. "Heinsohn's theory goes something like this: A surplus of young adults-- particularly adult males-- leads to rampant competition for jobs. This in turn leads to higher levels of unemployment, downward pressure on wages, and poverty. All of which leads to social failure-- specifically the inability to marry. Throughout history, unemployed and unmarried young men have always been trouble. If there are a handful of them, they turn to crime. When they comprise a giant cohort, they resort to revolution. One study shows that between 1970 and 1999, 80 percent of civil conflicts occurred in countries where 60 percent of more of the population was under the age of 30." The author then goes on to specifically talk about about Iran.  He says, "After all, with economic ruin on the horizon, and a demographic catastrophe in progress, they have nothing to lose in a conflict, other than several million military-aged men who, left to their own devices, might become revolutionaries instead of soldiers. Iran must either use its youth bulge to conquer a neighbor, or use war with a neighbor to thin out its youth bulge.(133)" Which is why according to the author you always hear about Iran's nuclear weapons capabilities.  Its the only way to stop the US from interfering with Iran's attempt at establishing regional hegemony. Which Iran's government has to attempt unless they want their youth bulge to cause rebellion. The author then moves on to show how sub-replacement populations in China will be disastrous in the coming years. Statically there are usually 105 male births to 100 females. China is 123:100. "...a skewed sex ratio has often preceded intense violence and instability.(135) Not to mention with China's sub-replacement population they will have a huge aging population which will cause their economy to contract. The author suggests, "...America needs to prepare for in the coming decades is not a shoot war with an expansionist China, but a declining superpower with a rapidly contracting economic base and an unstable political structure." Just for the record a contracting economic base almost always results in unstable politics.
The author then goes one to list all the fail attempts by countries to increase birth rates which have failed. The only thing keeping many countries afloat when it comes to population numbers is immigration.  Which creates problems since mostly likely the decreasing birth rates developing nations will cause immigration to dry up. He uses Puerto Rican immigration to the US as an example.
He finishes the book telling about the only country that has successfully reversed replacement numbers. Georgia which is a former Soviet Union satellite, hit their lowest birth rate of 1.39 in 2003, by 2009 it had raised to 1.86. Georgia has a state religion and the head of the Georgian Orthodox Church is Patriarch Ilia II and in 2007 he promised that he would personally baptize any couple's child who already had two or more kids. The year after this announcement the birth rate increased by 20%.
The author then says, this is the exception that proves the rule that there isn't really anything a country can to do, to stop sub-replacement birth rates, because so many factors cause it. But there are things they can to do, to stop it from getting worse. Then he goes on to explain specific things the US could to improve the birth rate, because according to him Social Security and College are the two things that suppress the birth rate, that could actually be changed.  Like changing tax law to not hurt married couples with children under 18.  He claims the only reason college is so important, is because the Supreme Court ruled that an employer can not force an employee to take an IQ, so instead employers use colleges to weed out intelligence since they are allowed to use test score. He also uses BYU as an example that colleges don't have to hinder birth rates.
Anyway, it was interesting read. I would recommend it. The quote that rang the truest for me says, "After all, there are many perfectly good reasons to have a baby. But at the end of the day, there's only one good reason to go through the trouble a second time: Because you believe, in some sense that God wants you to."  Although I slightly disagree I think to go through it a second time is to give your child a sibling. My sister in law says, you have your first child for you, and your second child for your first child.  The only reason to have a third is because God wants you to.  Although I'm not sure this is always true, I'm sure someone that doesn't go to church has had three planned kids in the last twenty years.
The other quote that I found extremely interesting is, "Religion makes a difference once people tie the knot, too, because couples who go to church enjoy their marriages more than couples who don't. If you attend church regularly when you're married, you're more likely to be happier both with your relationship and your spouse. Married couples get happier the more often they go to church and happier still if they share the same faith and pray together outside church. [...] It follows that something which causes people to get married more quickly, to stay married and to be happy while married, also results in more babies. (85)"


Friday, June 13, 2014

Summer Reading

Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn't Buy Presents for the HolidaysScroogenomics: Why You Shouldn't Buy Presents for the Holidays by Joel Waldfogel
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really wanted to like this book.  I was hoping it was like Freakonomics except anti-christmas consumerism, like the subtitle says, Why you shouldn't buy presents for the Holidays.  Freakonomics, Outliers and other popculture economic books are so fun to read.  Sadly this reads like a economic text book, not a bestseller.  I guess that's the reason you don't hear book groups reading it in November. This book took me a ridiculously long time to read, because it was boring, but I did like the main point of the book.
This quote found in the book by Howard Dayton sums up my views, "Christmas is celebrated today more as a sales frenzy than as the most important birth in history. Unfortunately, Christians are susceptible to this commercial mentality, and too many have compromised the message of giving.  Often, we give useless gifts at Christmas, because its expected of us, and we feel guilty if we don't... (101)" I've often wondered how the joy of giving has been interpreted as over-consumption. A few pages later, the Author writes, "But to be clear, my beef is not with the level of spending and consumption at Christmas but rather with the waste this spending generates. Gift giving matches resources poorly with users, producing a meager amount of material satisfaction for the amount of money spent. Its probably wrong to pillage the planet in celebration of Christmas. But if pillage we must, we should at least do it efficiently.(103)" In high school I had a friend who was not from a christian culture, but his mother still set up a Christmas tree.  He said on Christmas morning his mother would give his brothers and him each envelopes full of cash. He said it was not as exciting as it sounds. I see the appeal of giving gifts to children, but overall Christmas giving/Christmas consumption has made me sick to think about for at least a half a decade. Whether I found and read this book or not, I've been thinking about giving up Christmas consumption and replacing it with a vacation.  Why have we equated celebrating Christmas with filling up landfills? Isn't memories better than full garbage bags a week later.  Going on vacation and not giving gifts is not actually socially acceptable as the author points out. For some reason we give gifts to prevent the receiver from being offended, not to increase their satisfaction. Without a gift the implication is they have been forgotten.
I won't spoil the end book with explaining the last chapter.  But I'll add one more of my opinions. Trading cash is lame, why would I give you $20 for you to give me $20 back. Gift cards although socially more acceptable are also lame to me.  I don't want to give a $20 gift card to associate #2, for associate #3 to give me a $20 gift card back. I will say I love a well thought out gift, but so few gifts even have the potential to be well thought out, for countless reasons.  I will definitely have to think about the end of the book. It has great potential, but overall I like a gift that doesn't require action on my part.