Friday, July 31, 2015

Hard to say No!

Being as cute as Sophia is must be challenging; I think she does fairly well with the challenges that come along with it. She has learned, however, that there are some things that it is almost impossible for Mommy and Daddy to say 'No' to.

For example, at night she sometimes almost always gets up to go to the bathroom after she has been put to bed. This has been a fairly common occurrence lately. More often than not, she will go to the bathroom, and go back to bed and that's it. Last night, she got up 3 times. And since the girls had gone to bed later than usual, around 9:30, by the 3rd time she got up it was 11:30 p.m. Every once in a while, she will decide she'd rather not go back to her own bed and will ask me "Mommy, can I snuggle with you in your bed for a little bit?"

Once I manage to scrape myself up off the floor and put myself back together, about 50/50 I will let her snuggle for a little bit. Sometimes she falls asleep and is brought to her own bed, sometimes she decides she'd rather play and chat with me and so is taken back to her own bed, and sometimes I muster enough will power to say no.

Last night, Chris had to work in the evening from about 9 p.m. through 1 a.m. I was asleep when he got home but I woke up to Sophia going to the bathroom (again) and then I heard a little voice ask, "Daddy, can I snuggle with you for a little bit?"

It's hard enough for Mommy to say 'no' to that. I'm sure you can imagine how often she gets a 'no' from Daddy, especially when he really hasn't seen her all day because it's been a busy working day.

So this morning I woke up for work, and let these two sleeping beauties. How precious is that.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Life and Death

In case you have been living under a rock for the past couple of weeks, the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) (here) has been gradually releasing videos obtained while undercover that show illegal acts that Planned Parenthood has been involved in (videos here). The abortion business is despicable, and unfortunately legal, but once you are murdering children and violently removing them from their mother's womb, it's not much more of a stretch the sell these separated body parts for money. If there is to be any hope for this nation, Planned Parenthood needs to be investigated and held responsible. Effective immediately government funding of this disgusting place needs to stop.

 To date there have been 4 videos released. I did watch them all, or at least hear them all, because I was not physically able to handle watching some of the graphic content in the last two videos. In the first video, we see an abortion doctor callously discussing the sale of aborted child tissues, and discussing different methods of removing infants from the womb so as to better preserve these tissues for selling. The second video shows an executive haggling over prices. In the third video we see a young woman who was hired for a job procuring tissue samples, describing what her position was like. We also see infant bodies separated as individuals pick through the tissue samples. The fourth video shows a physician discussing different abortion procedures; she discusses that it may be possible to train the staff performing procedures to ensure they obtain 'specimens' (read: children) that are intact as possible for a for-profit sale of body parts.

None of this should shock us. This is a company whose business model revolves around killing children. Sure, it is legal in this country to do so, but legality does not equate to moral acceptability. To quote the character Henry Desalvo in film Big Trouble, "I'm not talking about rules, here, I'm talking about manners. You see, there is no rule that says I can't come over here and fart on your entree, but I don't do it. Why? Because it isn't good manners." So is abortion legal? Yes. Does that mean it's morally acceptable? No.

Not only do they remain in business to perform abortions, but they do so when it is not medically necessary (which is over 99% of the time, or, arguably, they are never medically necessary). Not only do they perform them when they are not medically necessary, they actually talk people into them. Ponder that for a minute. People at Planned Parenthood ENCOURAGE women to kill their own children. They have also been caught in the past for other heinous deeds like covering up rape of minors (here), helping minors obtain an abortion without consent (here), and aiding in sex trafficking (here). There are numerous examples of the company engaging in illegal (or at the very least, extremely frowned upon) activities. The founder of the company, Margaret Sanger, believed in compulsory sterilization, segregation, and forced birth control to create a cleaner race (does this sound familiar? Think World War II). So these videos are shocking and disturbing, but they perhaps shouldn't be.

What really needs to be re-addressed here, and what CMP has brought back into the spotlight, is that DOCTORS in this country are WITHIN THEIR LEGAL RIGHTS to remove an innocent, unborn child from its mother's womb and murder it. Which sometimes involves physically tearing a child apart. Literally. Other times it involves violently severing the spinal cord. These are people who have gone to medical school. Unless I am terribly confused, much of what they teach in medical school revolves around KEEPING PEOPLE ALIVE but we've somehow made this gross exception for the most innocent among us. In one of the videos, you hear the doctor speaking about how some of the 'specimens' are born alive before being killed and their bodies being dissected for parts. A baby, born alive, is killed and used/sold for parts.

Not only is abortion legal, but it has also been shamelessly plugged as normal and acceptable. The president of our nation, giving a speech about PPFA, said "Thank you, Planned Parenthood. God bless you." The leaders of our country, honoring an organization that is involved in these practices. But this isn't entirely in the hands of our president. We have taken the responsibility of people away. "You want to have fun and be promiscuous? Go for it. Have sex with as many people as you can. And if you happen to forget a condom or have one fail, then we can easily remove that little ol' clump of cells from your body. Problem solved." This is a particular issue that is near and dear to me. A close friend of mine was told by Planned Parenthood that her child was nothing more than a clump of cells, and they also gave her guidelines for how to get that clump removed. They take women in a vulnerable position, who are scared, and exploit it for their own purposes.

The way we create families isn't some result of random chance. The creator God formed us (Psalm 139:13-14). Each one of us were made in our mother's womb, a human being created the instant those first two cells merge together. We have been made by a loving God who not only cares for us and gave us life, but gave us guidelines. When we fail to follow it's akin to watching a star implode upon itself. We slowly die more to what we were created to be, and become a lifeless shell of a person, living for pleasure and what "feels good".  Sex isn't a toy that can be used for our pleasure with no thought of the natural consequences. Sex is ultimately designed to produce children; the fact that it feels good is a bonus from a God who cares not only about our physical needs but desires us to enjoy creation as well. It is designed to be part of a marriage, to bring a man and a woman together in a way more than just creating a combined budget (Genesis 2:24). When sex is part of a marriage, and children occur within that marriage, we have a family structure as God designed it to be. Removing sex from marriage creates the problem where individuals find they are not ready to parent. They shouldn't be ready to parent. People should not be engaging in sex unless they are in a committed, marriage relationship, because a natural result of sex is pregnancy. There is a reason that God gave us men and women, that God designed procreation, that God designed families. In His design, we see best results. Because we serve a loving God.

To diminish the life of an infant, even one who is unborn, also has an affect on women who are trying to conceive or women who miscarry. It calls the woman who mourns over a lost child or a miscarriage foolish, because it was only a clump of cells. If it is just a clump of cells, then what is she mourning about? A close friend of mine recently miscarried for the second time. She mourns her lost children, and I mourn with her. I cried for her when I was discussing it with her. Planned Parenthood is forcing us to have a double standard. Is it okay to be sad for the couple who lost their child before it was born, but okay for a baby to be killed the parents were not expecting it? Why is one baby in the womb a child, and one baby in the womb a clump of cells? Generally speaking, before women can even confirm they are pregnant by a home test, the baby has a beating heart. To call it a clump of cells, to treat an infant like a tumor to be removed, is heartless, cruel, and a lie.

Another tragic consequence of this "feminist" logic is the destruction of femininity. God created male and female. Two genders. Different roles, with equal value. Women are mothers; they nurture, support, love. The women that we see in these CMP videos have had that taken away from them. They are callously looking in a pie plate at a dismembered child and exclaiming "and another boy!" It is heart-breaking to think that these women are looking at human infants in such a calloused manner. They discuss ways to more carefully remove a baby, from a place that should provide perfect security, so that body parts remain in tact. Reality for these women is the destruction of the innocent. Their livelihood revolves around killing children and dissecting their bodies. What a sad, twisted reality.

The lack of media coverage and the response from Planned Parenthood should not surprise anybody. Through all of their previous allegations they have managed to maintain the appearance of being above board in all that they do. They may say in their defense that one or two bad clinic workers doesn't reflect the organization as a whole.  This time, it is different. This time, it is the top of the organization. Evidence against PPFA is coming out.

What is quite sad is that as little attention as this has gotten from the main media, something that has significantly less importance has managed to find itself hashtagged to death. If you haven't heard about the Planned Parenthood scandal, you have certainly heard about the Cecil the Lion scandal with Dr. Walter Palmer. This is a dentist from Minnesota who, at the beginning of this month, was bow hunting large game in Africa and killed a "beloved" lion. From what I have read, the dentist paid a significant amount for the opportunity to hunt the lion. While I do not necessarily condone hunting for sport, it does sound like he took measure to ensure legality of this hunt and was trusting his guides. Whether or not we agree with what he did, the backlash has caused national, no, global outrage. His business is shut down for the time being, and people (ironically, many of them pro-choice supporters) are calling for his death. If it weren't over such a grievous topic, it might be laughable that the death of a single lion is garnering global attention, requiring that the man who killed the lion go into hiding, while the murder and dismemberment of thousands of children on a daily basis is getting little attention at all. Where are our priorities?

A great description of how I feel comes from the HBO mini-series Band of Brothers. It is a documentary about World War II, following a certain army company through the war. In one episode, called "Why We Fight", the men stumble upon a concentration camp. The individuals who are still alive are locked inside of the camp; the American soldiers get in and find out why the individuals are trapped there (primarily because they are Jewish) and are shocked at the sight. To make a long story short, they head back into the closest town, which is not far, and invade a bakery. They take everything so that they can provide the individuals in the concentration camp with some food and water. The baker who is having his shop cleared out protests the soldiers; one of them holds a gun to the baker's head and accuses him of being a Nazi. When the baker responds that he isn't a Nazi, the soldier continues to threaten the baker. In essence, the soldier feels that the baker is complicit with the Nazis because it seems improbable that he was unaware of what was happening down the road with the stench of human decay and burning so close by.  That baker is us. It's me, and it's you. We are sitting here, going about our lives, allowing ourselves to be blissfully ignorant of the holocaust that is taking place in our own backyards.

All of this would be bad enough if it were a private company, but this is a company that is in part paid for by our tax dollars. I am forced to give money to a company that murders children. It is lunacy. Let's not sit by and let it continue. Let's not be the ignorant baker, pretending there isn't a holocaust in our backyard. Here is a website that will show you who your representative is. Contact them. Pray for our country. Pray for the men and women who are involved in these procedures, whether they are performing them, having them performed on them, or are somehow involved in other way. Show love and compassion to those women who have made a poor choice and need help. Pray for those who have a choice to make.  Thank God for CMP and their willingness to create these videos, going undercover and knowing the evil that they would encounter so that they could bring the truth to light. Let's not let their efforts be in vain.



Wednesday, July 29, 2015

1 year old!

It happened, and all too fast. My little Heidi Olivia is one year old! What an eventful one year of life she has had already. It's incredible to think that it was already over one year ago that I woke up at 3 a.m. with those strong contractions and went straight to the hospital, and a couple of hours (and only 3 pushes!) later out came my baby girl.

She has grown incredibly over this year. She's so active and just ready to keep up with big sister that she tends to get frustrated with her inability to do things that she feels like she should be able to do. She wants to open up things, climb on things, go potty, brush her teeth, start her bath water, swim, run, jump... she's getting there!

She has a fascination for electronic devices. Much more so than Sophia did at her same age. There have been many a Kodak moment that was lost because as soon as she sees the phone come out she will come running to see if she can grab a hold of it.

She has 5 teeth now! 5! And she absolutely loves having her teeth brushed. She loves when I take out the little finger brush at night, bouncing up and down and smiling at me while I'm brushing away. On the grooming topic, she also loves having her hair brushed and will walk around the house with a little comb or brush in her hand, trying to get her hair (mostly she kind of just hits her head with it). She will also try to brush my hair or Sophia's hair, which Sophia does not always find is helpful if it is already in a ponytail.

Heidi is still the world's best eater for a baby. I think she's still eating more than Sophia does, and she isn't too picky. She'll eat vegetables, potatoes, meat, rice, whatever is in front of her. She's even gotten over her initial dislike of shredded cheese and chows down on that, too.  I think her favorites are still any kind of fruit (bananas, strawberries, blueberries, oranges...), macaroni and cheese, rice, potatoes, and chicken. She even ate asparagus last night at Chris' birthday celebration.

Her fuzzy pooh bear is her favorite little buddy, and she can fall asleep almost instantly if she is tired and snuggling her little bear. The other day in the car she was fussing and fussing, and I knew she was tired but couldn't figure out why she wouldn't just fall asleep. I handed her Pooh Bear and instantly the fussing stopped, and about two minutes later (if that long) she was asleep. She is quite the little mama and will walk around with pooh bear on her shoulder, patting his back. She also will walk around with Sophia's dolls and baby them, too. She got a doll for her birthday with some bottles and was feeding the bottles to her bears, and the babies... it was sweet.

She is in the process of deciding if she needs one nap or two. Often if she pushes it and takes just one nap, she can barely make it past lunch and sometimes will fall asleep right before lunch. Most days she still takes two naps.

The 4th of July happened this month! We didn't do fireworks with the girls; everyone was in bed well before they started, especially because Daddy was preaching the next morning, and they slept right through the noise as well! Maybe next year we'll all be a little more ready to stay up late and watch fireworks.

One of her new favorite things is to try to get her shoes on. She loves to sit by the front door where we have sitting our plastic mat with all of our shoes piled on top of it. She'll sit down there and pick up her shoes and try to force them on her little toes, even if she already has a pair of shoes on. And if she can't get them on, she'll just march around the house carrying her shoes. I often find single shoes around the house, in places where I know it'll be hard to find them later if I don't get them put back away.

She loves to swing in her swing at Oma and Papa's house, and also tries to climb up the steps on the swingset. Even scarier than her daredevil self on the swingset is her daredevil self in the kiddie pool. Oma and Papa have an inflatable pool that is slightly larger, and figure 8 shaped. The water in it is typically 10-12 inches deep and Heidi has learned how to crawl in and out of the pool. She is also absolutely fearless when it comes to the water and will dive her little self head first into the water. I was in there with the two of them last week and I had to stay right on top of Heidi because she was just dipping her head under the water the whole time. Papa was holding a bucket of water and she even dunked her head into it.

Heidi still is taking breastmilk in a bottle at night. Last night she got upset with me because there wasn't enough milk in the bottle! She drained about 7 ounces in just a matter of minutes and was wanting more!

We have been fortunate this week to have Nana visiting us over Heidi's first birthday (and Chris' 31st birthday). We had a great time getting set up for it, and Nana made a beautiful cake. Her birthday party was pooh bear themed, to go with her favorite little bear, and it was just a blast to do a party around this theme. I will go into more details about the party in another post... I don't want this to be too wordy!

I can't believe my sweet, spunky baby girl is 1. That year absolutely flew by. I am so excited to see where God takes her life; I am grateful He gave her to us and I just love being her mama.
























My first ice cream cone!














NANA!

We had the privilege of a Nana visit for Heidi's first birthday! It feels like we had been anticipating this visit for such a long time, and in a blink of an eye the week is already gone. I can't believe how fast time just flew by. I guess the good thing is that if time keeps speeding on by, Christmas will be here before we know it and we'll be in Utah! The good and the bad about Christmas in Utah is that it will be nice to be in Utah, but it may be our last Christmas in Utah because Papa is planning to retire January 2018 and they are planning to move down to Tucson. Of course, Tucson most definitely has positives (Eegee's, Beyond Bread, citrus fruit, BEAUTIFUL weather, etc).

ANYWAY.

Nana came in on Tuesday, July 21st. It worked out quite nicely, because I now always have Tuesday/Thursday off. We went straight to the Mall of America for lunch and "Toddler Tuesday", which is one of Nana's favorite things to do with Sophia, and really it's just quite fun to watch Nana and Sophia enjoy the rides together. Sophia even went on a couple of rides on her own this time: bumper cars (which had a height limit) and some type of ride that goes up and down in a vertical line. I can't remember the name of it right now, but it is Wonder Pets themed. Part of me wanted to cry watching her climb up onto these rides by herself; it just doesn't seem real that my baby can just move on up on those rides all on her own and get herself set and ride without somebody there... but she can! Sophia also talked Nana into some Good 'n' Plenty candies at the Peep store in the mall, and ended up with a pair of Good 'n' Plenty themed headphones too so she had just a fun time listening to music on Nana's iPod through those.

The next day, Wednesday, I had to work. Nana took the girls to Hobby Lobby and picked out some fun headbands, and also some flip flops which Nana and Sophia decorated together. The decorations didn't last long and Mommy needs to find some kind of super glue to make sure they stay, but they were adorable! I am sure I am leaving out fun details from the day but alas I was not able to be there. I think it's probably a lot of fun for the girls to have alone time with Nana, though.

Thursday we spent the morning garage sale-ing and found a great Dog motorcycling outfit which we did not get because it was just kind of a lot (they were asking a lot) but it was quite cute. We also found some fun toys for less than a dollar. I found a game of Appletters and just had to fix the bag, and also found a Disney Aladdin ceramic mug that was exactly like the one I had growing up (and I got it for 10 cents!! Woohoo!). We had some great Chick-Fil-A for lunch and then went to the mall for some shopping. When we went to the Disney store (because it is hardly possible to go to the mall without visiting the "Dolly Store" and the Disney store) Heidi saw a giant pooh bear and her face just lit up! Nana snuck back later and bought it for her birthday.  We had some ice cream, too, and gave Heidi her ice cream in a cone. She had an absolute blast eating it!

Friday was Heidi's birthday and Nana had a day with the girls to herself again as Mommy had to work. It was a relaxing day in, I believe. That night we opened presents for Heidi and when she saw that pooh bear in the bag she was just ecstatic! She also had a lot of fun riding around on her new tricycle and feeding bottles to her new baby and pooh bear. Sophia was walking around with a piece of tissue paper on her tummy saying "I'm a present!" Mom and I were up until around midnight preparing cakes and desserts for her birthday the next day, so we were glad when the girls slept in on Saturday!

The farmer's market in St. Paul was first on the agenda for Saturday. Naturally, we got donuts (because it is a farmer's market, after all) as well as some great looking sweet corn and some fresh picked flowers for Heidi for her birthday. Later that afternoon I made Heidi's birthday banner, and then we went over to Oma and Papa's house for the party after nap time. Heidi's party was a lot of fun. It took her a minute to dig into the smash cake, and Daddy provided some encouragement, but she did eventually really did in there. We had a great time with our friends over and just really enjoyed the evening.

I am ashamed to say that in all the excitement with a first birthday I *almost* forgot that Daddy's birthday was on Sunday! Daddy is almost exactly 30 years older than Heidi and he turned 31 on Sunday. Now he's officially in those thirties! Woo! I did a little bit of editing on Heidi's birthday banner to change it from "Heidi is 1!" to "Chris! is 31!" and it worked just fine. Nana helped pick out steaks and lobster (for Chris only) at Costco and then we made a big dinner for Daddy on Sunday evening. He even got a cheesecake for dessert, instead of just left over cake and cupcakes, though we had that as well so there was no shortage of sweets!

Monday was another day back at work for Mommy but I was (am) impressed at all that Nana did with the girls, because it was loads more than I am capable of. Nana first took them to the Como Zoo in the morning, and then drove them down to Jordan, MN to go to the Biggest Candy Store in Minnesota, which, as the name implies, is an incredibly large candy store. Love it. I was sad to miss this, but it sounded like a fun time! Then when Nana came home she prepared corn, roasted potatoes, and shrimp for dinner. She also managed to get the girls' laundry done. Super woman? Yes.

Tuesday was our last day :( This always comes so quickly. It's like time is on double speed when my parents are here. We got up and going actually pretty quickly. Nana did Toddler Tuesday at the Mall with Sophia again in the morning, and Sophia just had a blast riding her rides. We also got to see Llama from the "Llama Llama Red Pajama" books, which Sophia was actually really excited about. The poor guy in the llama suit must have been just absolutely dying. By the time we got to the front of the line Heidi had fallen asleep for her morning nap but Sophia had a good time meeting the llama and was talking about high-fiving him all day long. We also ended the day with pizza for lunch and more of our favorite gelato place. They had chocolate peppermint gelato, which Sophia was all over, and toasted coconut for Nana (yay!). One time they had Grape Nuts flavor, and I was in heaven, but I doubt I'll see that one again any time soon.

We dropped Nana off at the airport, and I am so glad I have a Christmas Countdown calendar to help keep track of the days until we see them again. I know time will go quickly. Of course, the downside to time going quickly is it means my babies are continuing to grow up. Ah the fun times with Nana! We're looking forward to our next visit.  We already have been planning, in some ways, about the days when we'll be able to send the girls to Nana and Papa for a week on their own. Of course, this is still a long time away, but it is fun to think about those days! What a gift God gives to children in grandparents.



Selfies at the dolly store! For the 10 seconds Heidi held still and wasn't chasing dolls around.





Nana ending up finding more kids to bring home ;)





Sophia's first ride all by herself - bumper cars! She did some spinning in a circle by herself but did have fun!


Note the sign right behind the drivers here... ;)


Her second ride by herself!




Her new Mike 'n' Ike headphones listening to Itsy Bitsy Spider on Nana's "Little Green Phone" (iPod)





Lunch at Chick-Fil-A!










Birthday breakfast yogurt



Sophia got a new Minnie t-shirt!!

Had to see how it would look on Daddy...



A big pooh bear!


"Mommy, I'm a present!"

Packing up for the ride










Heidi crashed after her party. Sophia read to Daddy before bed...

She snuck in the words "...and I don't want to go to bed" into the story

Little ham :) Lunch at "Cutie Butt!" (Q'Doba) with Nana


At the Biggest Candy Store in Minnesota!


Sending messages to Papa


Hi Papa!

That strange car that parked in the middle of the aisle in the mall parking lot...


Toddler Tuesday, part 2!!



We met Llama Llama Red Pajama!!

Little Heidi was sound asleep in her stroller!


My 'edit' of Heidi's banner for Chris' birthday. A few small changes and we have a birthday pooh bear banner for Chris! ;)