Sunday, August 31, 2008

Presidential Thoughts

Here's the deal. I don't care how you align yourself politically. Whether you are for McCain or Obama is up to you. My problem is when people decide they are either Republican or Democratic and vote accordingly without knowing where their candidate stands -- what is their platform? Even worse, is when people vote based on the popular thing. Recently McCain's campaign came out with an ad stating that Obama is just a celebrity. He's gotten a lot of heat for that. But, really, come on. No one can deny that. This election seems more of a high school popularity contest more than ever. I'm not meaning to offend anyone...but am I the only one who sees this? Before this ad came out, I watched the Obama family on Access Hollywood -- a tabloid news show. That was so weird to me. I would understand 20/20 or Dateline because those have a better reputation of being tv news journalism. But Access Hollywood?

At the Democratic National Convention, it was more of a party than a national convention. According to one journalist, "This seems to me the edgiest Democratic National Convention since 1988. ... his rock star performances are turning more voters off than on." Sheryl Crow performed, pumping up the audience for the main event. Stevie Wonder, John Legend, and Will.I.Am also performed. When interviewed, Fergie, yes, the Fergie who sings Fergilicious, stated that being at the convention was like being at the Super Bowl. Now, I'm glad that politics has her so jazzed, but really. Is she excited about the candidate, Barack (which interestingly enough means "peach" in Hungarian), or is she excited to participate in another part of a celebrity fiasco, in the name of politics? Jessica Alba was also interviewed and she too commented on the energy and excitement. Once again, if this because she is sincerely interested in Obama's platform, that's great, but I'm not convinced. I'm an Oprah fan, I am. But there is video of her crying at the convention. Crying?! Mary J. Blige is hugging her along with Oprah's life long friend, Gayle.

As far as I can tell, his platform on most issues is not that different from Hillary Clinton's, or even John Kerry, for that matter, who lost to George Bush, who wasn't all that popular at the time. So what is it with Obama? Is it because he's black? Is it because he conjures images of John F. Kennedy with his young age and young family? Because clearly, there is something more to the Obama frenzy than his traditional democratic platform.

I believe that Barack Obama is a good man. I believe he has good intentions -- which I didn't believe Hillary Clinton had. I think she wanted power and status. Barack, however, I believe wants to be President because he believes that our nation can be better and he wants to help lead us to that greatness. I also think he has a presidential look -- he is charismatic, distinguished, polished, articulate, and over all seems to be sharp. That is all good. But the manner in which we draw attention to ourselves reflects a bit of our personality, character, and general attitudes. I personally feel that actors and musicians supporting a candidate should hold very little weight against the real, everyday American voters. Who is this candidate anyway? Doesn't a voter want to believe that their president relates with and understands the average American? I don't relate to Hollywood. My life is anything but Hollywood and the flashing lights distract me from his message. I'm afraid it is distracting many Americans from his real message as well.

"Clearly the Obama campaign saw this speech as Step One in humanizing a candidate who, as I have referenced above, is seen as a cerebral prodigy, as an inspiring orator, as (in the views of some) the object of adoration of a cult—but not as a guy we feel we know as a human being." Perhaps people feel this way because of all the celebrity attention. This was the case before McCain mentioned it, and, in my opinion, it is even more the case now.

Vote for Obama if you feel he is the man best for the job. If you agree with his views on taxes, economy, health care, abortion, foreign policy, traditional marriage, and of course the war on Iraq (all of these I do have my own opinions on, but that is not the topic of this entry of course). Vote for him if you understand his policies and where he wants to take the country. The same is for McCain. But don't shout praises in the name of Obama simply because it's popular. Vote for him because you agree with him and because you believe, based on the facts, that the "change" he speaks of is for the better. Likewise, vote for McCain because you agree that his "country first" campaign really will put the state of our country in a better place.

Goodbye Part II

Before leaving Provo, we were able to spend some good quality time with family.

And on the drive to Spokane...while Samantha slept...

Callie smiled and squealed!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Time Left in Provo/Moving Out

The last week we were in Provo was rather strange. We were out of our apartment but staying with family friends. So, we were still in Provo, but we weren't there. It made it weird for us saying goodbye to our neighbors when we knew we would be bumping into them here and there throughout the week. Luckily we were able to say a real goodbye to them all before taking off. I do deeply regret that there were some people that I just physically could not see before we left. To you, I'm so sorry. Things were so hectic with final doctor appointments, moving, etc, and it just didn't happen. I'm sorry.

Moving out of our apartment was a trick. I had been packing boxes for a few months now, so a lot of that work was done already. Of course there was more to pack up, but that honestly wasn't too bad. All I can say is that I'm so glad that our families were in town.
Monday: Colin, Scotty, Bryan, and Lee Green -- my dad -- and Mark Catanzaro helped out with the loading. We were charged per foot on the trailer, so we tried to make it as tight as we could. I started to clean on Monday.
Tuesday: Dad, Marcus, and Colin (rest of the Greens headed back to CA) spent time rearranging the stuff in the trailer to make it fit even tighter in the trailer...and they succeeded. I continued to clean. ABF picked up the trailer that night.
Wednesday: Marcus and I cleaned.

It's not like our apartment was super messy or dirty. It really was in good shape in fact. But with 2 kids, I couldn't get all the cleaning done. I wanted to finish it Tuesday. Originally we were going to load the boxes on Monday and the furniture on Tuesday. Boy am I glad we changed those plans. We got a ton loaded Monday afternoon. I can't imagine if that hadn't of been taken care of so quickly. I thought we'd be out of the apartment Tuesday night. My mom helped by cleaning the bedrooms and watching the kids, but Samantha was having a rough time, they needed naps and had nowhere to sleep since the crib was loaded was just really hard, and I'm NOT looking forward to doing that again, alone, in 12 months. We'll be even more alone because our parents won't be there most likely. They were just in Utah because we had been sealed. So, 3 days to move out of the place, but it was done. Horrible, but done.

While we waited for ABF to get our stuff to Spokane, we stayed with some family friends who live up by the Provo Temple. We were able to spend some time with them and my mom and they were staying there too. Wednesday night, Samantha threw up a few times (maybe that's why she had been having such a hard time while we were moving) and so we laid low and I held her a lot. Thursday, she seemed to be doing better, so we went to This Is the Place Park in SLC. I thought it was really nice. I think it's worth seeing. Friday we ran some last minute errands, Marcus met up with some old college buddies, and we finished the 3rd season of 24. (We have to find a way to get our hands of the 4th season out here in Spokane -- especially since we aren't getting cable this year.) Saturday was spent at Thanksgiving Point at the Museum of Ancient Life. Holy cow! This was impressive. At the time I didn't realize it was the biggest dinosaur museum in the world. Samantha was still not feeling all that well but made it through the IMAX movie. In the evenings, while my parents went to the mall, distribution center, and all over the place, we hung out with family.

We did have one dilemma...our car started falling apart and some things stopped working. This panicked me greatly since we would be driving roughly 900 miles north, and if our car didn't work, I wasn't sure how that was going to happen. We made some quick phone calls, got into a shop the next morning, and they had it ready that evening for us. Panic gone. Kind of. I was in a very stressful mode the entire week. There was so much to do, things kept going wrong, my kids were sick (Callie started having diarrhea the next day after Samantha threw up), and we were leaving our comfort zone. I was very stressed.

But, all in all, our last few days left in Provo were great.

We Have Arrived

I always told Marcus when we had an apartment with a dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer, we will have "arrived". Well, we aren't quite there yet, but we are here in Spokane with a dishwasher, and this is our 100th post (which is strangely some kind of milestone in the blogging world. Remember that Scotty.) So, I guess we're close to "arrival" of some kind. I feel like I have soooo much I want to write, and since my blog is used partly for me as a way to journal, I have decided I will break all my many thoughts/experiences down into smaller posts. That way, when I have time here and there, it'll eventually get done. Just as a way for me to remember what I want to write about...

1) Time Left in Provo
2) Leaving Provo (goodbyes, moving out)
3) Traveling
4) Entering Spokane Life (first impressions, apartment, moving in, etc)
5) Politics -- my take on Obama and McCain -- I normally wouldn't do this, but so many people have been posting on the current political news -- and instead of commenting on theirs and potentially offending them, I've decided to just post my own thoughts

I will get pictures up when I find the camera cord. That plastic bag with all the cords are around here somewhere. Until then....

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Callie is ours...

forever. There's no ifs ands or buts. Not only did we receive the official legal paperwork stating she is ours, but on Saturday morning she was sealed to us in the Provo Temple. I can't explain how wonderful it is to know that it is official. Now, I think Callie is super cute. And when I got her dressed in her little white dress, I thought she was cute, of course. But when my mom brought her in to the sealing room....she looked gorgeous. There was a little glow around her. She was beautiful. It's a little strange; after a 1 minute ceremony she is eternally ours. I remember feeling the same way when we got married. It's just a short ceremony, and that's it. We're married. And it was the same with Callie's sealing. She was such a little angel during it. Oh, what a sweet sweet girl. Marcus's Aunt Holly has adopted 2 kids and has been through 2 sealings like ours. To celebrate that experience, she makes them a white cake with white frosting on their sealing day. I love that. I'm going to do that for Callie. August 16 -- what a wonderful day. We had to wait to give Callie her baby blessing until she was sealed to us, so today Marcus was able to bless her. It's just been an all around wonderful weekend. I don't have pictures yet -- we'll get some posted soon. (This small one is the only one we have right now.)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Mountain Solo by Jeanette Ingold

Mountain Solo Mountain Solo by Jeanette Ingold

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I thought this was an excellent YA novel. I enjoyed the writing style and appreciated the fact that it was very clean. It tackled a very real YA issue -- feeling like you aren't in control of your life -- and she approached it in a unique way. I recommend it.

View all my reviews.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Saying Goodbye

I know we aren't officially leaving for about a week and a half, but today I got together for one of the last times with some great friends of mine -- yes, at Cabela's. Marci and Reagan were my roommates at BYU up until I left for my mission. Those 3 years with them were so great. I never thought I'd be able to meet friends that I felt as close to as I felt with them. Luckily, the Lord has placed other fabulous people in my path and I feel so blessed to have an abundance of great great people in my social sphere that I call my friends. Now that Marci and Reagan have moved back to Utah, we're leaving. Life can be cruel. (Becky and Arielle, still need to get together with you girls! And Danette, not sure if I can get another run in, but maybe I'll be able to stop by before we move?)

Sidenote: I got my haircut and colored (thanks Kristen). I decided to go with bangs to change it up a bit. I'm not sure what I think yet. I go back and forth. I was leery to do thick bangs, so they are thin...which means they don't really stay in place. But, that's ok with me. I can sweep them to the side, have them down, or pin them back. That gives me a lot of variety which I like. Anyway -- Heather, here you go. This is the only picture of my new cut that I have.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Samantha the Star

The Foundation for Children with Microcephaly had their 1st Annual Convention this year. I had planned on going, and my mom offered to fly out to go with me. I was in Scottsdale, AZ and I was really looking forward to going. But then some other things happened. My priorities changed when we were able to adopt Callie. I thought it would be just a little too complicated right now to travel to AZ for this conference with both of them. Plus, we couldn't take Callie out of the state until it was finalized...which happened today. (Yippee!!)

My mother-in-law called tonight and left a message on my voicemail. It seems, even though Samantha wasn't attending the conference, her star status did. Check out this picture. She's on the slideshow that they had during the conference. What a cutie!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Samantha Walking Around

These aren't the best, I realize. But, I've been wanting to get some video up for sooo long of Samantha walking around. She is so funny. She gets something in her hands and just walks in circles around the apartment...stumbling all over the place. Most of the time she doesn't really have a destination in mind. She just likes to walk. Like I said, this isn't the best footage, but it'll do for now.

Mission Accomplished

Ignore the fact that it looks like I have black eyes.

Well, I did it. I ran the Provo River 1/2 Marathon this morning. I got out of bed at 4:25am (after waking up at 2am, 2:30, 3:00, 3:15, and 4am) and headed over to the starting point at 4:45. It's quite a way to start a morning, a long run. I thought it was ridiculous that everything was so early, but so glad it was because it really started to get hot. When we took off running, I saw an old mission companion and her husband, Jill and Behrad (who happens to also be one of our MTC teachers). I looked for them after so we could all get a picture together, but couldn't find them. Marcus, Samantha, and Callie were there waiting for me at the finish line. My time was 2 hours 12 minutes. That's about a 10 minute mile...for 13.1 miles. I'm happy with it. I do have to say that I'm feeling a bit sore. My ankle hurt as soon as I started running, but I pushed through. Now it really hurts. Hopefully it'll be fine. But, phew! It's over, and I think I only killed one rolly poly along the way. I'm glad I did it -- not kill the rolly poly, rather, I'm glad I participated in the race. I learned 2 things.

1) A lot of people who passed me had tatoos. Real runners have tatoos. Runners are tough and a bit crazy. I just have the crazy part...I'm not tough enough.

2) 1/2 marathons are good. I have no desire to run a marathon -- at least not right now. But I'm really glad I did it.
Me with my adoring fans. Check out my awesome farmer's tan!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Okay, I know that . . .

. . . Jenny normally does the posting here, but while glancing over our photo library, I came across this photo of Callie:

When I saw this picture, my first thought was: "How did I miss the fact that my child's legs grow out of her stomach?" The next picture, however, provides a little more realistic depiction of her:

Still, the more I look at and think about the first picture, the funnier it gets. When I start work in a few weeks, I'm going to bring a picture of Samantha and the first picture of Callie. I'm interested to see how they respond when I tell them that while my first (adorable) child was born with a smaller head, my second was born without a lower torso.

San Jose Airport

This is my first attempt in posting video on our blog. It's not exciting stuff, but ya know. I'm playing around here. I figured out that the easiest way to do it is through our digital camera. Anyway. Enjoy. Here's a bit of Callie playing on the airport floor (very clean, I know) and Samantha jumping.

Praying, Running, and Cheering on the Cougs!

Praying: We are scheduled for Callie to be sealed to us on August 16. Hopefully that happens. We haven't received the proper paperwork in the mail from the court in Michigan stating that she is legally ours -- that the adoption is final. Until that comes, we can't be sealed. So we are praying we get that in time. Any prayers would be appreciated.

Running: This past weekend I was sick in bed. It was horrible. And since then I haven't really been able to run...not even 3 miles...without feeling nauseas. This is a problem because my 1/2 marathon is scheduled for this weekend. BUT, last night I ran 10 miles. I did it. And I did it in 2 hours. That is very encouraging because my goal was to do 13.1 miles in 2.5 hours. I can do it. I really think I can.

Cheering on the Cougs!: This morning Marcus, Samantha, Callie, and I walked down to watch the football team's only open practice. We were there an hour early to insure a good spot on the balcony. It was fun to watch them practice. It got me really excited for the Washington game, which we are going to. We also saw Jeremy Katzenbach, for those of you who remember him and Kelly, so it was fun to catch up with him and talk football the whole time. He is in a similar program as Marcus, so they chatted about that as well. While we were watching the practice, we were approached by someone and interviewed for Ya know how after something happens, you think about what you said or did and how it could have been better? Yeah, well I've been doing that ever since. I feel like a moron. He asked me who some of my favorite players are, and the ONLY names I could think of were Max Hall and Harvey Unga because they were 2 of the players at the camp I went to. Come on! What about Collie and Vakapuna...2 of the ones I watched and followed the most last year. I just feel dumb. Anyway. He said it'll be up within a few days. If I don't look too much like a moron, maybe I'll post the link. (There are other things I said that make me look like a loser -- don't worry.) Anyway. Go Cougs!

Friday, August 1, 2008

BYU Women's Football Clinic

Marcus's dream came true when he said, "Jenny, sign ups for this year's BYU Women's Football Clinic are beginning. You should go," and I replied, "Ok." "Really?" He was so excited. The stipulation was that I found someone to go with me. I'm not that die hard of a fan that I'd go to this clinic alone. So, Telisha Packard, a friend from here at BYU, signed up with me. For $25 I was guaranteed a "free" t-shirt, tour of the stadium, and time with the coaches and players. As thrilling as this sounds, when yesterday, the day of the clinic, rolled around, the last thing I wanted to do was go. Samantha's been rough, to say the least, and I didn't think I had the energy to go. Marcus told me I didn't have to go, trying to ease my pain, but how could I not? "No, I do have to go. We paid 25 bucks. I can't waste that." So, I reluctantly went.

Four hours later, I came through the door and told Marcus that was the best $25 he had ever spent on me! I loved it! I highly recommend every woman, who has the chance, attend next year's clinic. It was so so so fun. During those 4 hours, we ...

toured the press box * toured the stadium locker room * shook Bronco's hand * got Bronco's signature on my "free" shirt * got Max Hall's too * listened to Bronco speak to us * Q&A with Bronco * Q&A with about 10 players * ate a sandwich and BYU's yummy mint brownies * ran drills with coaches and players * received tips from Coach Tidwell, Hill, Doman (yes, Brandon Doman), Weber, and Reynolds -- and players -- I don't remember all of who was there

Maybe it doesn't sound thrilling to all, but it was. Take my word for it. The oldest woman there was 88 years old! Holy cow! I was impressed. This year was the highest attending camp with a count of 450 women. I'm sure there will be more next year, and if we would be in Provo next year, I'd be there. My biggest regret of the entire evening was not having my camera. So sorry, no great pictures of us with Unga, Pitta, Nixon, or Hall.

Besides running the drills (and being told I had the best 3 point stance in the camp -- thank you Coach Weber and Tidwell) the best part of the clinic was listening to Bronco speak. He is inspiring. I am impressed with his attitude and his outlook on football. The actual game is secondary to how he wants his players to be as men. He's a man of integrity, and I really believe that as he is instilling lessons of character in his players, he's not only creating great football players, but extraordinary leaders who represent the church. I appreciate and respect him for it. This makes me even sadder to leave Provo and miss the football season next year. I can't imagine how Marcus must be feeling if I'm sad. I have to admit, I never quite understood his obsession with BYU football. It's just a game. I've always loved going to the games, but really, when the game was over, that was it for me. But last night, at the end of the camp when we were watching the 2007 highlight video as we sat on the field, I got goosebumps, and I think I kind of get it. It's more than a game. Well, I guess we'll just have to find out who, in our new ward, has Dish Network and invite ourselves over for the games! That may be awkward, but it may just be worth it.


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