Friday, April 29, 2011

Half the Sky

For the last few weeks, I have obsessed over the book, Half the Sky by NYTimes writers and Pulitzer winners Nicholas Kristof and wife Sheryl WuDunn. My words cannot do it justice; please read it.

Kristof and WuDunn assert: “In the nineteenth century, the central moral challenge was slavery. In the twentieth century, it was the battle against totalitarianism. We believe that in this century the paramount moral challenge will be the struggle for gender equality around the world.”

In the developed world when we think of gender equality, we consider issues like how many women are in Congress or whether it is harder for women to make it big in business. Arguably the worst we as women face is the threat of sexual discrimination.

In the developing world, gender inequality means that you—as a mother of six impoverished children—arrange for your daughter to go wash dishes in the city. Your trusted neighbor, who is making the arrangements for you, assures you that your daughter will be safe. And heaven knows you need the money she can send home. Instead, your neighbor takes your daughter across the border and sells her to a brother for fifteen dollars.

Half the Sky unblinkingly describes the plight of women worldwide, from sex trafficking to maternal mortality to genital cutting to honor killings. But the best part is, the book is a plea for us to get involved. Rather than leave the reader hopeless, the authors offer countless stories of success on the part of aid organizations and social entrepreneurs. AND they recommend how to get involved and offer a list of reputable organizations to support (whether by volunteering, writing letters, donating, etc.).

I felt my heart changing as I absorbed this book. Who am I that because I happened to be born in one of the world's best countries, I can ignore those who weren't? I tried to go shopping this morning, but my heart felt heavy with the knowledge of all that I have compared to my sisters around the world. I left empty handed.

I can't say that I will stop buying nice things. But my convictions to live a modest life and to use a good part of our means to better the world continue to grow. I owe the Lord (and those women) at least that much.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Oh My Goodness, I Just Love these Boys

Today was the kind of day that reminds me why being a stay-at-home mom has always been my dream job. Sure, it's not as glamorous as I might have imagined when I was twelve, but still, there are a lot of perks! If I omit telling you about the half hour it took me just to get the boys dressed, or the four poopy diapers I changed by 1pm—my day actually can almost sound cushy.

Listen to this: we wake up; I make smoothies for my boys; let Trenton jump on the bed, which puts him in an automatic good mood; get everyone dressed and head to the park; chat with my girlfriends while the boys run wild; get home and eat lunch; put boys down for naps and take a nice nap myself(!); blow bubbles on the patio; take the boys to visit my good friend Leigh, who lives upstairs; make a simple dinner; tidy up; and put the cuties to bed!

Here are a few other random details about life lately:

In the one week we were gone, it seems that Chase grew just enough to access some areas of the house he could not previously climb to: the TV and toilets. He can climb onto a toilet without any assistance!

The little show-off himself. Love that pose.

Needless to say, I now have a second green tub on top of the other to prevent this from occurring again. (The original purpose of that tub was to cover the outlet and TV cords.)

Trenton often asks me to pull out "Sophee's bed" (she slept with us once and now he has officially deemed it her bed) so he can jump. I rarely comply, but I've gotta say, we're all usually pretty darn happy when I do!

In the photo above, he is showing me his new camera smile. For the last several months, he has turned away from the camera almost every time I pull it out. But in the last few days, he has started telling me, "I'm learning to smile!" and he'll actually do it! Love this.

And HELLO adorable boxer briefs from H&M! I smile every time I look at him when he's wearing these.

And this is him "snuggling" Chase.

Speaking of Chase, this kid gives me at least three—often four—stinky diapers to change every single day! I thought Trenton's diapers were crazy hard to change at this age (and they were!), but at least he only pooped once a day! Chase hates diaper changes and does everything he can to escape—four times a day! Phew, so glad I got that off my chest. :)

On a happier note, he has decided that walking is his preferred means of transport. He's been working on it for a couple of months now but just recently decided to walk more than he crawls.

Trenton absolutely LOVES Chase. He calls him Chasey all the time, and he can be so affectionate with him. I love seeing them interact and watching their friendship unfold.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


We're home from a great trip to St. George, Utah. Ten or eleven hours in a car with little ones is always an adventure, but we made the most of it with the help of lots of juiceboxes, a handful of toys, and a sucker for each boy that left them sticky from head to toe! (So worth it!)

We spent the first day and a half with Ryan's parents, as well as our friends the Hoffmans, who planned a trip to coincide with ours, so that we could all have one big party on Malaga Lane! (Thank you to the Nielsens for lending us their beautiful home!) We spent the second half of our week with Ryan's brother Kyle and sister Sarah. I love Ryan's siblings like my own, so I soaked in the time with them. The boys did too—poor Sarah and Kyle were stuck endlessly jumping on the trampoline or playing two-year-old "catch" with Trenton. :) Thanks, guys!

We did the Riverside Walk (a two-mile roundtrip hike to the base of the Narrows) at Zion National Park with the Hoffmans.

As usual, Chase was just SO happy to be out of the stroller. Getting good and dirty was a big bonus.

Trenton was a trooper and hiked most of the two miles all by himself.

A few days later, we visited the Clark County Fair (in Ryan's hometown of Logandale, NV) with Sarah. Trenton LOVED the little roller coaster he was tall enough to ride. We did it at least five times, and I hope to always remember the sound of his constant giggle in my ear on that very first ride.

You wouldn't believe how Chase cried and writhed his body when I took this drink away. (Ryan thought for sure he was seriously hurt!) What a mean mommy I must be! He was SO happy sitting there drinking away.

Obviously, this picture was taken before I took the juice away. :) I love my Chase!


Fairs are just the greatest places for pictures! (Sorry for the overload!)

To make our experience official, we sampled some serious fair food.

My brain is dead from being up since 3am, so I hope this blog makes some sort of sense. We had a great trip and now feel renewed and ready to tackle the next few months. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

10 miles for pacing, 3 miles for racing

Well, today I ran (survived) the Golden Gate Headlands half-marathon. It was like running the most strenuous hike I've ever done—and for 13.1 miles. We ran straight up a mountain for pretty much the first four miles, and then it seemed like we just kept going up until the end—however, there must have been some downhills somewhere in there, because we ended up at sea level, right where we started! Let's just say it was the first time a workout has ever made me throw up at the end!
Me (and T) with the other runners, near the start line.

Me super cute and supportive fans! I broke into tears when I saw them on the beach waiting for me near the finish line! Tears of exhaustion...and anger toward the course designer. :)

And here I am, 13 hilly, muddy miles later! Overall, I actually felt pretty good, and I made some friends along the course. (With no ipods allowed, chatting with fellow runners was a necessity!) I can't say I'd ever do this run again, but it's always good to remind yourself that you can do hard things. Plus, I'm one step closer to my goal of doing an athletic event after every baby!