Thursday, October 30, 2008

Today I voted - and it COUNTED!

Well, since I write the blog entries they are all of course going to be a little biased towards my point of view. Especially this one, where I will admit a slightly embarrassing truth about myself.

I am afraid of voting.

It all stems back to the 4th grade. Yep, all the way back to the 1992 presidential elections. Mr. Palmer thought it would be a great social studies lesson to hold a mock election so we could learn the voting process. We had to register a party, research the candidates, and then, when the big day came, vote for our educated choices. I don't remember why, but my 9-year-old logic decided that Ross Perot would be the perfect president. I was ready to make my voice heard!

The big day arrived. Our classroom bathroom was transformed into a voting booth. I watched in anticipation and excitement as each of my classmates entered the "booth" one by one until finally, it was my turn.
I picked an empty ballot out of the sink, took my pen in hand, ready to mark a bold X next to the name of the great Ross Perot . . . but something was terribly amiss. There were several boxes. Lots of names I didn't recognize. And a hole punch. What the heck was a hole punch for?
After some scrolling I did finally locate Perot's name, which I circled a few times for lack of a better option, then stuffed quickly into the ballot box. Then I left the booth feeling confused and embarrassed.

When we came to class the next day the votes had been counted and the results posted on the black board. I don't remember the tally for the candidates, but I do remember a fourth tally that had been written on the board. Invalid ballots: 1.

I had done it wrong. I knew it in my heart of hearts. I filled out the ballot incorrectly and my vote didn't count.

This one small epiphany has haunted me for 16 years. I am sure my 4th grade teacher meant well, but I was scarred for life.

This year I studied the candidates. I checked out the local elections. I decided who I wanted to vote for. I registered. And I voted.

You can not imagine my relief when that little digital American flag waved in the digital air, signifying a ballot well-cast. A vote that counted. A constitutional right excercised. A 16 year old fear laid to rest at last.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Punkin Paradise!

Every October mom and dad took us to the pumpkin patch. Every year. Pumpkin Patch. Without fail. This was just how the world worked.

So I believed for 18 long wonderful years. You can imagine the terrible surprise my first October in Rexburg presented. There was not a single pumpkin patch in the entire city.

My second Halloween my roommate Chandee and I set out on a 5 hour long expedition to discover a pumpkin patch in the outlying areas. We were thwarted and had to resort to buying our pumpkins at Albertson's.

Pumpkins don't grow in Chile. They do have these incredibly giant squashes that would work well, except you can only purchase them by the slice. And going to the outdoor market to purchase a slice of giant squash didn't really leave me with the same warm fuzzy pumpkin patch feeling.

Well now we live in Lubbock. And some things have got to change around here. Luckily Brett is very patient and loving and most important, humors me.
Juliet had a blast with the mini pumpkins. She thought they were meant to be picked up and dropped. Which she did quite effectively with several of them. Luckily none of them busted open cause we didn't want to pay for them, just enjoy watching her pillage mini-pumpkin town.

Brett was the official pumpkin transporter of course. He did a great job! And as a just reward I gave him a dollar to shoot the corn cannon. (I'm the official cash transporter.) He almost won a free t-shirt. Well, I guess since we payed $1 to almost win it, it was more like a dollar t-shirt. But he didn't win. I think he still had fun though.

All in all I think it was a pretty succesful day. :)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tree of Life

So the three of us went to hang out on the tennis court to enjoy a nice beautiful fall day. (We don't have any grass to hang out on because too many dogs live in our complex.) Juliet has been very camera shy. Well, not so much camera shy as camera rebelious. Every time I attempt to take cute pictures of her I end up with lot of shots of the back of her head, a couple where she is only half in the picture, and if I'm lucky, one great one that is slightly out of focus. Well today was no different. Brett tried to distract her with a tennis ball while I secretly photographed her, but she was so on to us.
About this time a healthy gust of wind rolls a giant seed in between my feet. I stoop to examine it only to discover . . . a pecan? In the middle of the tennis court. I couldn't be too sure, so I cracked it open under my heel.
It was delicious! Now to discover the origins of said nut.
As it turns out, the kind of ugly tree that hangs over our tennis court is a pecan tree! I shared the joyous news with our neighbor (after picking up all the pecans, of course -- maybe that was a little shady. Havilah, you be the judge!! :) .
A couple days later we made another brilliant discovery. The complex is full of pecan trees! Which, obviously called for a scavenger hunt. Rahel and Tyler mostly picked up rocks and clumps of dirt (I had to throw their bags out soon after because bugs kept crawling out of them) but Brett and I got another hefty bag of pecans. Now if we only had a way to shell them. . .

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Just like any other day.

It has been a terrible day. Tyler peed on me. I never thought I would be potty training little boys before I had a 2-year-old and before I had a little boy. And yet here I was sitting on the rim of the bathtub with a little boy perched over the toilet seat and a wet ankle. Well, a couple paper towels and some disinfectant later, no harm done right?
"Why is Tyler time out?"
"Because he went potty in his diaper and not in the toilet."
"Oh. Play outside?"
"We can when Tyler is done in timeout."
"Done in timeout?"
"Yes, when Tyler is done in timeout."
I hear Tyler call from the other room, "peeeeeeease." 30 more seconds and we can go outside. I tell Rahel to put his sandals on so we can go out.
He kicks one instead. "Me can't!"
For some reason this particular 2-year-old phrase is enough to set my teeth on edge. I try for the 122nd unsuccessful time to correct his grammar. Rahel decides instead to kick his other sandal. "Me can't." He says again. I tell him to try (since I have seen him successfully put his own shoes on several times before) and go get Tyler out of time out. When I get back Rahel is kicking his sandals around the room whining. I hate whining more than bad grammar.
20 minutes and some intense cohersion later, Rahel remembers "me can" put his shoes on, and we head out to the tennis court where we kick balls and run around like banshees for an hour.
It starts to rain.
"Time for lunch!"
Juliet has woken up from her nap. She and Tyler munch happily on peanut butter sandwiches. Rahel is crying. "Juice!" he says.
No juice until he takes a big bite of his sandwich.
"Pear!" he says. No pear until he takes a big bite of his sandwich.
"Timeout!" he says. Rahel prefers timeout to lunch time. I let him sit in time out for a minute and then it is back to the peanut butter sandwich. Tyler has finished his sandwich by now and is happily eating his pears.
"Pear!" Rahel says. Not until he takes a big bite of his sandwich. Finally, he takes the bait. I have to watch him chew and swallow before he is allowed to have his pear. Several times I have left the room and come back to an empty mouth, only to find a completely masticated bite of chicken, or fish stick or peanut butter and mush all over the floor. The avocado was the worst (he had been working that one for about 5 minutes before it greenly dribbled all over my carpet). I give him his prize, a browning pear slice. I can't convince him to take another bite, not for banana nor juice nor pear. He asks to go in timeout again.
"You can go in timeout if you take a big bite of sandwich." He miraculously, takes a gigantic bite of sandwich. I let him chew and swallow in time out. All in all, a very successful lunch. I give the rest of his sandwich to Juliet. She is bottomless these days.
Tyler is cleaned up and throwing flash cards all around the living room. I start to unload the dish washer. "What you doing mommy?"
"My name is Kristina."
"What you doing tia?"
"I'm doing the dishes."
"Yes dishes."
2 minutes pass, several more cards fly behind the television set, lost forever.
"What you doing mommy?"
"My name is Kristina."
"What you doing tia?"
"I'm doing the dishes."
"Yes dishes."
Rahel joins the discussion.
"What are doing Kister?"
"I'm still doing the dishes."
Suddenly I'm tired of doing dishes. "Let's read a book."
'There's a wocket in my pocket' is one of our favorites.
"Did you ever have the feeling there's a zamp behind the lamp?"
"What you doing tia?"
"I'm reading a story."
(Several little voices) "Story!"

Finally Rahel is taking a nap. Tyler has been picked up (only a little late) and it's just me and the Juj.
I know the day will come when she is peeing on my ankle, or spitting peanut butter onto the carpet, or asking what I am up to at every possible moment, but right now she is playing and laughing all by herself on the floor. Sometimes she whispers nonsense words and I know she is plotting our bumpy future, and sometimes she brings me a toy and we look at how it works together. Sometimes I tickle her and always we laugh and hug and give each other kisses. Sometimes we even fight, but there is always a snuggle and a kiss afterward.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Juliet's Birthday!

Well, Juliet's birthday went of without a hitch. We didn't make a lot of plans
since she is only one, and I don't think she'll remember this birthday. She can start having really cool birthdays when she is 15. :)

Thanks for all the cards and gifts we received! Juliet loves her new car seat, and the best present by far was her cell phone she got from Grandma Kelli! We feel very blessed to have so much support from so many people that love us!!

I can't believe my little baby is one year old! She is growing into such a doll. We love to see her little personality developing, but at the same time it is hard to realize I am losing my little baby for a little girl.

Just a couple 1 year stats!

Juliet has 8 teeth.

She has been walking for over 3 months!

She says, "mama, dada, nana (for banana)" and "baby juliet"

She seems to be getting over her milk allergy, so we have our fingers crossed!

She waves good bye, gives kisses on demand, plays peek-a-boo, does the motions for "itsy bitsy spider," and "patty-cake" fetches and brings objects to mom, and is learning to throw away her diapers.

She sleeps through the night and usually puts herself to sleep! (not tonight though!)

she has mom and dad wrapped around her little 1 year old finger!