Thursday, May 30, 2013

UT Trip

We had a great time visiting UT this past week. We got to see a number of old friends and eat everything we've been missing- like graham canyon BYU ice cream :)
There was just enough time spent vedging and hanging out to not get too run-down. Darlene took up to enjoy a little reservoir by their home in Pleasant Grove

Here's a sweet shot of my soon-to-be-nephew that I'm sure my sister will be very grateful to me for publicizing

Natalie behaved soooo well. She was very entertained- loved having Brooklynn and Aaron around. Micah says it means we should have more kids. I say it means that she's ready for daycare

Erika's wedding was beautiful and fabulous. I only wish I had taken more pictures!
Aaron and Natalie picked from Brooklynn's cake the whole time. It was hilarious.

Just being cousins- making calls at the window while sharing a sippie cup back and forth.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Stop Going To Prom Naked

Rant Ahead!

Over the past several weeks, I've had the chance to see plenty of facebook pictures of friends/their children/their siblings all dressed up to go to prom/end of the year dinners/dances.

Tonight, I saw a young man I know, and it sparked an exclamation of, " _____ went to prom with a ho!" Micah came over to look and as I flipped to an image of him with his date, he quickly agreed that she looked like a major ho.

A few weeks ago at the park, a large group was having their pictures taken before an 8th grade dinner-dance and I was shocked by how scantily dressed ALL of the girls were. I can't tell you how many of the girls must have had their nipples exposed at some point throughout the course of the evening- let alone how many crotch shots their dates must have witnessed as the girls sat down.

Unfortunately, I guess this is the norm these days. Girls all flounced out in backless, sleeveless, strapless, frontless, sideless wonders must compose the vast majority of most "formal" middle and high school functions. The irony? THERE IS NOTHING CLASSY ABOUT THESE "FORMAL" OUTFITS. Quite to the contrary, they look trashy and cheap and make the girls look like complete sluts.

Micah just argued tonight, "You can't blame them, it's society's fault as a whole", before admitting that he and his friends' prom dates didn't dress as slutty as most of the girls in pictures I show him (and, no, they weren't Mormon). Sure, there are a lot of factors contributing towards the problem of rampant immodesty, particularly in formal attire, but I'd like to briefly complain about a few of them:
1.) Permissive Parenting
2.) Misperceived Lack Of Market Variety
3.) Boys' Lack of Standards
4.) Girls' Lack Of Self-Respect

Most of the time, parents are quite aware of what their daughters are wearing to prom. In most cases, they're the ones who have forked out the cash to purchase the girl's chosen lingerie-disguised-as-formal-dress. So, why do parents think it's okay for a 14 to 18 year-old girl to go out exposing her boobs and legs and back like she's a stripper halfway through her act? Do parents honestly look at their half-naked daughters and not realize how inappropriate their dresses are? Are they just numbed by the promiscuity of the media and expect that their daughter should dress like a slut? Seriously- wake up, parents!

I have been hearing it since I was in high school: The stores only sell sleeveless/strapless/low cut dresses! Or, all the modest dresses are ugly! Welcome to the digital age, when everybody buys stuff online. To believe that you are limited to what you see in the department stores is ridiculous. Another problem? Most girls aren't shopping at serious department stores- they are getting their formal dresses from much cheaper, trashier, teen-targeting stores. And if you've searched high and low, then find the best dress you can and alter it. You don't have to be a genius or a master seamstress to safety pin your dress so that the boobs don't hang out. Shawls and wraps and cover-ups come in greater variety than ever before. I don't think that anyone truly, honestly believes that they can't find something more appropriate- this is more of an excuse than a true reason. But parents need to realize that and not give into their daughters' whines that there's nothing else out there.

On to the boys- how many out there, aside from being majorly turned on by their date, must at least some times be truly embarrassed by how revealing the girls' dresses are. I know most teenage boys are pretty insecure, but seriously- have a backbone and set expectations for your date. It will make the whole night a lot less awkward.

Finally- girls. Why in the world would someone with any amount of self-respect deliberately objectify themselves by selecting clothing that sexualizes their appearance, for a formal event nonetheless! The only conclusion that I can find is that such girls don't see their own value outside of looking hot. Which is really sad. I can see where it comes from- I mean, how many successful doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs or other intellectuals has an average girl seen receiving praise versus the BeyoncĂ©'s and the Fergie's.

So- change of scene- I was up at GA Tech a couple of weeks ago to play racquet ball with Micah. It was Friday night and as I searched for parking I passed a number of couples who were on their way to some formal event. The guys were in suits-a few in tuxes- and the girl were wearing formal dresses. Their dresses we no schoolmarm frocks, but most were significantly more covering than ANYTHING I have seen middle school and high school-aged girls wear this year. Most were floor-length, the rest were at least upper-knee length. Sure, there was some cleavage here or there, but at least the tops were securely fitted and generally not so low and cut-out and generally bare as most dresses I have seen on teens

So, what does that mean, when highschoolers are dressing even sluttier than the college girls that they are aspiring to become? I want to believe that it means that by college these mindless girls finally gain some substance/standards. Or perhaps they just develop a sense of taste? Or maybe their sexual permissiveness by the time they reach college renders obsolete the attempt to self-sexualize as inexperienced highschoolers wanting to be grown up. Or will these girls just become sluttier college girls than the current ones that they will replace over the next five years?

All I know is that it has to stop before girls start to look like this on their wedding day.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Bumpy Rash of Doom

The most exciting thing that has been going on at our home has been the emergence of a bumpy rash on Natalie's face and body. It started on her forehead around 2 weeks ago then went to her cheeks and this morning I noticed it on her tummy. We researched it on Sunday and I thought it seemed like heat rash, but usually that happens in areas that rub clothes or areas that have a lot of friction. So I called the Dr.'s office to ask what to do about it and they told me to bring her in immediately.  I didn't think it was a big deal since she has no other symptoms and it's not red or itchy or anything.
The doctor looked her over and said it was dry skin and I should use a moisturizing body wash.
It doesn't look dry at all to me- if anything it looks oily, but I'm not a doctor, so what do I know. I tried to take a picture that captured the bumpiness but I don't think this camera will do it. It's super bumpy- you'll just have to trust me on it.

A drink in each hand= contentment at its best.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

My Jam Makes Your Jam Seem Lame

Gadzooks! What is that nuclear-bright red substance in the jar?
Why, that would be my homemade jam!
(yes, my food photography skills leave much room for improvement.)
Aldi had strawberried for 99c/lb and they were goooood. So of course, I grabbed way more than I could eat before they spoiled and determined to make jam. When I looked at pectin, I was shocked at how expensive it is. Also, I wanted to use truvia instead of sugar because I got a ton for free a while back and I want to use it up and most recipes need sugar for the pectin to gel. There is pectin meant for sugar-free recipes, but it was even MORE expensive, so I was like "screw that". Then I stumbled upon an idea- what about using gelatin? I had a few envelopes of unflavored gelatin (a box of 4 costs like $1.50), so I set about searching recipes. My ultimate recipe went as follows:
Sugar-Free (Truvia ) Strawberry Freezer Jam
1/4 cup lemon juice
dash of salt
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 envelope gelatin
1 lb 4 oz strawberries (enough to make 2 cups when finely diced and squished tight)
18 packets truvia (5 TBSP+1/2 tsp, the equivalent of 3/4 cup sugar)
Boil lemon juice, throroughly stir in salt, cornstarch and gelatin. Add strawberries and let them get all mushy. Bring to a boil; boil 3 mins. Remove from heat, stir in truvia, let cool to room temperature, then pour into desired container and let set in the fridge. Move to freezer or devour immediately.
It's soooo good. Even Natalie loved it- she opened up her PBJ and licked all the jam off and then asked for more!

Natalie loves to color lately. She is always pointing towards the bar where we keep her crayons and asking "doh doh" (color). Unfortunately, she was really interested in coloring on the table instead of her book. Since our tabletop is glass, a little scrubbing bubbles all purpose cleaner got it right off, but then I was caught in the dilemma of not wanting to inhibit her creative urges but not wanting her to believe that it is okay to color on any surface she wants. I doubt the walls will clean off so easily!
So, Art Teacher Sarah came up with a good compromise and now half of our table has paper grocery bags taped over it.

Natalie is pretty assertive about informing me when she wants to leave the house. She will bring me her shoes or jacket, or sometimes just stand at the front door and pound on it. It's a little awkward, sometimes she decides it's time to leave when we really have nowhere to go!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Eyes, Ears, Mouth and Nose

It's hard to get her to show all the parts she knows in one video, but here are a couple samples:

She also knows the sounds that pigs, cows, ducks, dogs, cats and (her favorite) horses make.
In unrelated news, lack of space is officially not a legitimate reason not to have an emergency store of food and water. I fit a couple month's worth of unperishables in 2 stacked 45 gallon tubs in the corner of our bedroom and our (tiny) downstairs bathroom now holds an emergency store of water to last us a week. Now I can start building up our second week's worth behind the couch....
I continue my usual activities: Aerobis with girls from church, the occasional adoption event with Small Dog Rescue, cooking and feeding people, cleaning, playing with Natalie and couponing. This week I got to stock the freezer with a bunch of seasoned steamable veggies for $.20 and some stouffer's family size entrees for $2. I am looking forward to Kroger this week where, permitted I have a reasonable cashier, I plan to buy tons of baby wipes, toothpaste and soap and only paying tax. It works out perfectly, since we are participating in a project with the Sandy Springs United Methodist Church to collect items for hygeine kits for a shelter. I looove spending so little while still having a lot to give away.
Micah has been super busy the past few days preparing 2 papers to submit for a conference this fall. They were submitted this afternoon, so I will be relieved to have him back.
We are heading to UT over memorial day weekend to see a friend get married and watch Erik perform in Les Mis. That's the next exciting thing we're gearing up for.... aside from the pool opening, of course :)