Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That

  • 2,328. Why does that number seems so huge lately? It's the number of miles from here to there. It's 34 hours straight by car or about 8 hours door to door by plane. Maybe if flying there wasn't so many hours, I would not want to have a panic attack thinking about trying to go with Landon by myself. But I do, and so it holds me back.
  • If my mom could come here to have her knee surgery that would be great! Landon would help out so much to take care of her (I wish)! He always loves to share his food, especially after it has already been in his mouth.
  • My dear brother has decided to join the Army. Boy, have my emotions swung all directions when I think about this. I will do whatever I can to support him and his sweet family. He is trying to do what is best for them. Here is a nice link from Elder Robert D. Hales talking to military personnel regarding their service to our country. We can't wait to go to his graduation from Boot Camp at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. I am always up for a road trip.
  • I am happy our turkey turned out on Thanksgiving. It was nice having the missionaries over. Our elders were so cute. They each made their own pie to contribute. We each had firsts (ours at cooking a turkey and theirs at baking pies), and it was a ton of fun. Our little 12 lb bird has fed us every day for a week. The pies didn't last quite as long.
  • With the help of our friend Jayne, we have taught Landon this week how to stick out his tongue. I know it sounds weird. Why would we teach him how to do that? Well, he isn't making any noises toward talking, and Jayne (who is a speech pathologist) said if he is not using his tongue, he won't be talking. As of yesterday our little peanut now can stick his tongue out all by himself. We think it is a riot and love his little tongue. Now if he would just stick it out long enough so we can take a picture.
  • We put the tree up right after Thanksgiving. Mike was smart and put the ornaments that Landon could play with near the bottom to avoid anything being broken. Boy, oh boy! He loves to touch the tree.
  • I would love to have Landon and Cru play together. I realize Cru is only a month old, but how cute would those two be?! Landon loves babies, and it would be so fun to hang out with Carly and babysit her new little one.
  • How I miss Salt Lake in the Winter. FM100 Christmas concerts at the mall were one of my favorite things to attend. Waiting on the Internet to get First Presidency Christmas Devotional tickets and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir tickets are days filled with excitement. Lights at Temple Square and buying all of the different flavors of Stephens (ripping) Hot Cocoa is awesome!

I am sure there is more rambling around in this brain of mine that I can't figure out how to get out. Maybe it is the season when you wish to be with family or the fact that I can't remember when I saw the sun last. I do know that my heart is filled with love for my boys and most of all for my extended family who I long to be with this holiday season.

Monday, November 24, 2008

These Are a Few of My Favorite [Canadian] Things

This morning the three of us embarked on a trip south of the border (heh heh) to Windsor, Ontario, to stock up on our favorite Canadian goodies. One of the reasons we chose to move to Detroit (besides the perks Mike got for picking Wayne State) was its proximity to Canada (Hallie served her mission in the Maritime Provinces and Newfoundland). If only Argentina were so close! We have taken two long trips to Hallie's old mission stomping grounds and made a few other border crossings, mostly to stock up on our stores of Canadian-only treats. Today we went to Superstore and Costco, and here is what we got: maple cream cookies, Nanaimo Bar mix, Shreddies, peach juice mix, dulce de leche (that one's Argentine, not Canadian), Sun Rype fruit bars, Kinder Surprise eggs, a Montreal smoked meat sandwich, and some poutine. Good thing we only stock up once or twice a year!

What A Character

Landon has found where all of the tupperware is stored. I don't mind him playing with it, as he is kept busy while I try to make dinner. One day last week, I saw him put a piece of tupperware in the recycle bin and told Mike to keep a lookout for it when he dumped the recycle bin come Monday. After dinner this past week I was looking for a tupperware to put leftovers in, and I had absolutely no tupperware to use. I was bewildered, but I guess not enough so to go on a real hunt for them. After emptying the recycle bin today, Mike came back in the house with a treasure trove full of tupperware and a tin of chilis that Landon had stashed away. What a character!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Winter Tradition, Revisited

It's that time of year again! We've had our first snow of the season, and Mike's up to his old tricks cutting snowflakes. They're a minor passion with him. At Christmastime, we have them all over the Christmas tree and hanging from the windows. We have books and pewter ornaments from Vermont Snowflakes, a company affiliated with the Jericho Historical Society that honors the memory of Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley. In addition, Mike made several special paper snowflake ornaments to hang from our tree and garlands. Ever since Mike was a little kid and learned how to cut paper snowflakes, he was hooked. He retaught himself in high school (that college prep math mattered for something), and as surely as the snow falls, Mike has his trusty scissors in hand. In fact, a few years ago, Hallie bought him some special Cutter Bee Scissors. Other people have genuine talent at creating paper snowflakes as art. For instance, "Dr. Snowflake" (Thomas L. Clark) of Ann Arbor and Les Barker both do truly remarkable work. (Speaking of incredible paper art, check out the work of Peter Callesen.) In comparison, Mike is a rank amateur.
Back in 2004, Mike found a website called Make-a-Flake. The URL has changed, and they don't let you make stamps and other fun things out of the flakes anymore, but the virtual scissors, table, and gallery are still there. Try your hand at making your own. Mike made the flake above, and here are a few more he made (click an astrix): (*), (*), (*), (*), (*), and (*). Mike's only complaint is that the files you can save come up with a blue snowflake on a white background. They're prettier in the gallery, but they're smaller. The site has all the hallmarks Internet brain candy: it's fun, a challenge to master, and a bit addicting. Betcha can't cut just one! This year he found another site called Snow Days. It's harder to "cut" the flakes, but the results are quite intricate. It would probably help to have something more precise than a mouse or a track pad. Anyway, whether your instrument of choice is a pair of scissors or a mouse, happy cutting!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Even with it snowing outside the freeways pretty dang bad looking we still had a successful fireside. Sunday Michelle and I pulled off our Annual Adoption Fireside at the Westland Stake Center. We both worked long and hard on it. For me it was the first time I had ever helped with a fireside and it was a really good experience. While we were in church earlier in the day it started snowing. So much so that by the time we had gotten home from church you could not see much of the grass. My heart sank thinking not a soul would show up. People even called Michelle asking if we were going to cancel. But once we had sent out an invitation to every stake in Michigan how do you cancel something like that? So we went about pressing forward. Mike, Landon, and I picked up the pianist from our branch who so generously played the piano for us and off we headed on to the roads. We arrived safe and sound and started to set things up. As it grew near more and more people showed up. I was so happy to see so many people on a day like this. Afterwards Michelle told me that we had more people than she had ever seen at a fireside. Wah Hoo! The talks that were given were filled with the Spirit and touched many peoples hearts. The slide show Mike so brilliantly put together brought smiles and tears to the faces of the audience members. Michelle brought a beautiful cake from Sam's Club that said, "Adoption, One Miracle At A Time" and we had a nice assortment of cookies. Michelle always out does herself and I am so blessed to have her as a co chair and now as a great friend. Well enough of me being mushy. All I have to say is, Yeah for Adoption!

Friday, November 14, 2008

National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month.

I thought long and hard what to write about adoption. Nothing really quite struck and I think that is partially because I have written a lot over the past year plus about our little Landon and our adoption experiences. This Sunday Michelle and I are in charge of the FSA Fireside. I am specifically in charge of a slideshow and while looking for quotes to add to the slide show I came across a link to a video on YouTube. I found this link on . As I watched the video I was really moved and thought I would share it with you as my message for

Included as well are some of the most recent pictures of our peanut who we love so dearly.

Landon and Mom at a Halloween event.

Popi and Landon ready for a wintery day. Finally Landon has learned to smile for the camera. No more Alfred Hitchcock poses.

The second Monday of every month at the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village they have an outing for th kids. This last one had to do with Movie and TV Costumes. It was really fun to put Landon in front of a green screen (top photo) and then to look on the Internet several days later and see what he was really standing in front of (bottom photo). We have so much fun taking him to all of things at the museum every month. Now that he is walking and has really developed a personality it is so much fun to trapse him all over Detroit doing fun things.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Historic Photos of Salt Lake

I received another book in the Historic Photos series from Turner Publishing: Historic Photos of Salt Lake City. As a resident of downtown Salt Lake for four years, I felt more familiar with what I was seeing in this book than with either the Detroit book (I’m too new as yet, so I’m still learning about what I’m seeing) or the LA book (I was a child of the suburbs, so that book was more educational than nostalgia producing). With the Salt Lake title, I could place myself in the scenery and imagine how the modern city has grown up around the black and white image in my view. We own Brigham Street, a book of historic photos of homes on South Temple. As with Brigham Street, I found out some of the history of buildings I had frequently seen and admired, and I learned (and relearned) the names of icons of the Salt Lake skyline. I was surprised that the First Security Bank (Ken Garff) building (that gem of the International Style—like it or not, it’s famous) didn’t make the cut, but it was probably just a little too newfangled. Apparently road construction on South Temple is a fact of life in any era, as the paving photos attested. I had to chuckle when I read that the “majestic, cathedral-like” City and County Building essentially was built “to rival the Temple’s magnificence during tensions between Mormon and non-Mormon residents.” Observations and anecdotes like this are scattered throughout the book and add to the interest of the photos. If you have lived in Salt Lake, especially downtown, the book is worth a look.

A Moment Etched On My Heart

Landon has never been a real cuddly kind of kid, which is okay by me because I am not a real cuddly kind of girl.
Tonight was an exception for both of us.
As I was feeding him right before bed I put him up to my shoulder, and he hugged me, and we sat in the rocker for a few moments relishing in something that doesn't happen very often from our very sweet boy.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Marriage, a unique institution

With the passage of Proposition 8 in California, the issue of same-sex marriage will be placed on the back burner again for a while. My mom sent me an interesting editorial from the LA Times from back in September relating to the debate (click here for the link). The editorial is written by David Blankenhorn, a liberal Democrat and expert on marriage who makes the case for the social institution of marriage as a uniquely heterosexual union designed as a biological, social, and legal birthright for children. I'll have to pick up his book The Future of Marriage to see what else he might have to say on the subject.

Congratulations, Mr. President

I love the political process and the strong emotions it stirs up in us as we renew and refine our individual values. This last presidential election has been historic on a number of levels. Regardless of anyone's personal feelings, we now have our first African American President. Reading over the speeches by the candidates after the dust had settled, I appreciated that both candidates gave this election its proper context.

From Senator McCain:

“In a contest as long and difficult as this campaign has been, his success alone commands my respect for his ability and perseverance. But that he managed to do so by inspiring the hopes of so many millions of Americans who had once wrongly believed that they had little at stake or little influence in the election of an American president is something I deeply admire and commend him for achieving. . . .

“Senator Obama and I have had and argued our differences, and he has prevailed. No doubt many of those differences remain.

“These are difficult times for our country. And I pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face.

“I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together to find the necessary compromises to bridge our differences and help restore our prosperity, defend our security in a dangerous world, and leave our children and grandchildren a stronger, better country than we inherited.

“Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans.”

From President-elect Obama:

“If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer. . . .

“Let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. . . .

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House - a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, We are not enemies, but friends...though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn - I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President, too.”

The word “change” has as many possibilities, both for good and for ill. Having a new President means that things get shaken up, cobwebs get swept away, new rivalries and alliances get formed, and the wheels of history roll on. We will never again be a country where someone can cynically say, “Oh, yeah, anyone can be President (except if you’re Black).” That means something. Regardless of your political leanings, an old, old gate has swung on its hinges just a little bit, and the notion that “all men are created equal” has been verified again. The next time a Black man or woman runs for President, it won’t be such a big deal, and we will be more free to genuinely examine that person’s credentials in ways questions of race have impeded us before. And yet, we still live in a politically racialized country. An editorial by Shelby Steele, a conservative author who happens to be Black, highlights some of the tensions that remain and that continue to need resolution in American racial politics in the wake of Mr. Obama’s victory (click here for the link).

For one, I choose to be hopeful in the wake of an Obama presidency. I make the deliberate choice to believe that people of goodwill will choose to work together and that things will work out in the end, fully aware that things often work out in unexpected and surprising ways. Obama is neither the Messiah nor the anti-Christ. He’s the President, and we have the ability as a nation to make his being the President something positive and meaningful.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Cameo on local TV

How's this for dumb? We get rid of our TV just in time to miss our cameo on one of our favorite local shows, Discover the D, on our local PBS station. Luckily, we found out that Detroit Public TV does a video archive online, so we can still get our fix. Anyway, here's a link to their October 27th episode: Episode 298 (we show up about four minutes in). Our "boo-rific" cameo comes from our visit to Hallowe'en in Greenfield Village. Hallie saw Veronica Vance filming and wanted to tell her how much she likes the show. Next thing you know, we're on camera! One thing more to love about this town.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Nothing to Show

But the poling place had no sticker or receipt to give us saying we had voted. I want to show how proud I am that I have voted, but nothing. Dang it! I can't even get my free coffee (hopefully hot chocolate) at Starbucks, not a free cone at Ben and Jerrys or a free donut at Krispy Kreme.
Maybe next time our polling place will have something fun for us to show our patriotism.
As we approached our polling place this morning there were people handing out flyers for certain candidates. One of the people was even the candidate himself. I told him it was too bad I couldn't get to know him before today. I am sure he was doing his best to get those last few votes, but he didn't get mine. Neither did the guy who sent us close to 20 flyers over the last several weeks. What a big waste of paper.
If you haven't voted yet, go do it. And if you are in Michigan, remember to take your ID with you.