Saturday, November 30, 2013

In the Middle of the Night

Yesterday Dr. J turned 36.  It was a fairly low key birthday.  He went to work but got off at noon.  We had turkey and left over thanksgiving food, worked on an advent calendar, and ate cake.   After we went to bed though I had an impossible time falling asleep.  I tend toward insomnia anyway and this last few days I've been exceptionally uncomfortable.  The symptoms of my miscarriage after almost completely going away have reared back up and the emotional distress of just, "wanting to be done with this already" put me on edge.  From one to four thirty I just lay next to Dr J, periods of tossing and turning punctuated by trips to the bathroom.  My one saving grace was that in his sleep my husband's love for me is so evident.  Even in the deepest of sleeps he reaches for me, pulling me into deep hugs, nuzzling my neck, caressing my hair.  After one bathroom trip I slipped in under his arm only to have him pull me tight, reach for my hand, and start humming "Brown Eyed Girl" in his sleep.  It brought tears to my eyes, to be singularily alone in my insomnia misery and yet to still be surrounded in comfort.  Happy Birthday sweetheart!!!  Thanks for all you do for our family.  Sometimes you drive me bonkers but luckily the good times are sweeter and less far between.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Ender's Game and Catching Fire Review

So in this supper odd twist of fates I went to two movies in a week.  Odd, because I see maybe two movies in the theater a year, but last weekend during babysitter switch Dr. J and I went Ender's Game, and then Wednesday night I went to Catching Fire with my girlfriend Melanie.

So Ender's Game had a lot to live up to for me.  I've read the book several times and just the week before Dr. J and I had finished reading Ender's Shadow which covers the same amount of time in Ender's Game but from the perspective of Bean, one of Ender's platoon leaders.  I'm thinking that being fresh with the material was maybe not a plus.  It is always a challenge to fit a book into a two hour movie and while Ender's Game is not particularly long, it covers several years.  The movie failed to convey this and instead you sort of got the feeling that Ender jumped from school to school to war and done all in the space of 30 days.  Another issue for me is that size plays an extremely important role in the book.  Ender is younger and smaller then most of the people at battle school.  It adds to his isolation and is what brings his ability to lead into serious question, why would anyone be willing to follow him.  It almost makes his attacks more impressive, but in the movie Ender doesn't really look particularly younger or smaller and in one of the biggest fights in the movie he actully stands taller then Bohnzo Madrid who is suppose to be a "strikingly beautiful boy of aristocratic Spanish lineage" but instead looks like this...tiny guy in the front.

Well maybe size doesn't matter, except when it is suppose to be this big surprise that this guy pushes Ender to use his killing instincts, and it should seem like an unfair fight...but really does this look that unfair...

Let's just admit it was bad casting.  You can act your way out of being the shorter love interest, I'm talking about you Josh Hutcherson and I'm not saying you can't be a psychotic short guy but in this case it just doesn't work!  Anyway it was just a whole bunch of little stuff like that, but the result was almost the whole movie I was cringing.  There was only one saving grace for me, every time I read the book I'm like what the heck makes Ender unique in his final battle, well seeing it on film I finally got it.  Thanks for that movie.  Otherwise thumbs down.

So I went into Catching Fire expecting to be disappointed.  Ender's Game was fresh on my mind and I wasn't a huge fan of The Hunger Game's movie.  Don't get me wrong I was glad I watched it but I didn't buy it and only saw it the one time.  For me it didn't live up to the book.  I had no reason to worry though.  Catching Fire was ten times better then Hunger Games.  You could definitely tell more money had been put into the film, the characters were more comfortable with their roles, it stuck fairly close to the book although it didn't get bogged down in to many details and where it did go off track it was seemless.  If you weren't some crazy person who read the series like ten times (hmmm, wonder who I'm talking about) you wouldn't even have noticed.

The best outfit of the whole movie in my opinion...this butterfly dress worn by Effie Trinket.  I have an obsession with butterflies that might borderline on unhealthy!

Effie Trinket --- Butterfly Dress

Most disappointing outfit of the movie, IMHO...I mean it doesn't really matter but that skirt covers more then a pair of swim trunks.  It just doesn't fit the book scene quite as spot on as it could have.  Although in all honesty, Finnick doesn't either.  I pictured tall, light and a swimmer's body and so beautiful that everyone, man and women would notice him on the street.  Sam Claflin is attractive but I wouldn't call him beautiful.  

Finnick Odair | via Facebook
This moment with Johana in the elevator though was just perfect.  Spot on, maybe even better.  Seriously the facial expressions were the best in the whole movie.  It was at this moment when I was like, you know Woody, I can finally forgive them for casting you.  This made it all worth it.

There were a few things I didn't like.  A couple of Peeta's line were really rushed and I think that's what sort of made them seem cheesy in the Hunger Games movie, made him lose some of his appeal, but overall I was a lot happier with Josh as Peeta this time around.  Also my favorite scenes of the book aren't there, at least not true to the way they happens in the book, you know when they start hugging again on the train, look at Peeta's work, run off to spend their days on the roof top and then start sleeping in the same bed again and when their prep team catches them they run off crying...well you sort of get a little of that, but mainly you have to wait for the beach scene and because they are then in the arena again you can't really trust that Katnis might not be acting, where in the book she makes it perfectly clear that she knows she is going to die and she is going to take back the comfort of this love for herself.  OH well.  Overall though, I really liked this movie and would definitely buy it to own or would even go see it again.  Can't wait for number three and four (really was that necessary)!  Really hope they keep Francis Lawrence as the director and Simon Beaufoy on as screen writer.  Just as a side note, Simon Beaufoy adapted Slumdog Millionaire and did an amazing job of it.  The movie is better then the book in my opinion and adapting books to movies is not always the easiest job!

Post Thanksgiving Wrap Up

Thanksgiving has come and gone, although I still have a 22lb turkey in my fridge waiting to be cooked up, so there is that to look forward to.  Some friends from the ward (church) invited us over for dinner. The husband is also a resident and we both have four kids who match up almost exactly although they have a girl first and then three boys.  It was fun although I'm not going to lie, the kids probably could have been better.  This is the not the first time they've been together.  We've been doing babysitting exchange and usually they get along fairly well but there is a power struggle going on and sometimes watching it can be...painful.  Both our oldest want to lead the gang.  Neither one is willing to budge.  Sometimes there are fireworks :-/  Besides that little mini drama though things were pretty fun.  We ate a yummy dinner, had lots of delicious pies, played some soccer, and had adult conversation while the kids kept complaining we were laughing to loud and kept interrupting their movie.  I did a lousy job of taking pictures.  I just didn't think to snap very many.  I did get this shot of soccer.  Notice Captain E and Captain Z scrimmaging in the middle.  Oh my, and I also got a shot of the cute kids table they put together.  Seriously glad they did it at their house because it was much cuter then it would have been at ours.  Thanks for the invite Thomas family.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Don't get me wrong, I love a good deal as much as the next person but this arms race for our Christmas dollars by the retailers is even starting to put me on edge.  I realize Thanksgiving was really late this year and online shopping really adds a whole new dimension, but was it really necessary to turn Thanksgiving into Thingsgiving?  

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Fixer

This morning I woke up to Dr. J standing over me.  "Sweetie there is a disaster on the table.  You remember when I found that sticky stuff on my Ipad?  Well apparently a yogurt exploded all over my bag.  Also do you have any idea where my key for the on call room is?"  Then he was gone.  I was not ready to get up so I handed Cheetah, Elmo on my laptop.  Half an hour later I ventured down to the table.  Basically every paper, book, notebook in Dr. J's backpack was covered in peach yogurt.  It was gross.  So the fixer cleaned it up.  Then the fixer found the keys.  Then she did her normal stuff, got kids up and dressed, lunches made, breakfast done, kids off on the bus, kid to preschool, to the grocery store, and home again.  Then the fixer was back.  She loaded a bag full of leftovers, sandwiches, and snacks for Dr. J.  She loaded Cheetah up and picked Peach up.  The fixer and her crew ate lunch in the car as they drove toward the hospital.  When we got there we gave Dr. J a call.  Then we asked him to be the fixer and bring down a pitcher of delicious hospital water (I just love that ice) because mom forgot to bring drinks.  He came down and got his lunch and keys and we headed home where we went back to being just normal mom until Gigi Bear got home from school in tears.  "Mom I need to pee."  She ran to the bathroom and peed, but the whole time she was crying.  "Mom I just can't get all the pee out."  And so the fixer was back.  I was running water, calling her daddy and then her pediatrician to see if they would do a urine drip.  I was running a bath for her and rubbing her tummy.  Then mommy was back making dinner, helping with homework, getting kids ready for bed.  Somewhere at this point Cheetah came and told me that she had pooped in her diaper.  As I was trying to change her a huge piece of poop got jostled and started flying through the air.  I reached out with my hand and caught it.  I caught it!  On the one hand I was overjoyed it hadn't hit the floor.  On the other hand I wanted to throw up.  Being a momma is such an interesting hodge podge of jobs and sometimes those jobs are weirder and grosser then others.  I seriously feel like I'm the Olivia Pope of my house.  Fixing problems all day long....

Some feelings on modesty

It felt like this summer should have been called the summer of the modesty post.  It started with a video of a women who it turns out was selling "modest" bathing suits, then a response to her, then a response to that, then another response, and so on.  It seemed like for weeks all my friends were posting new post they'd stumbled across.  It was somewhere reading maybe the fifth one of these where the poster posted a picture of an outfit she was wearing and said something to the affect of "Look how attractive I look dressed in this modest outfit" that I threw my hands up in despair.  Modesty is a big deal in my church.  Women and men once endowed (after they have gone to the temple) are expected to wear garments which cover their shoulders and go down to their knees.  When you go to our Church school you expected to dress as if you had already been endowed.  We talk to our youth about dressing modestly and we have even started to talk to our children about it.  From The Friend, our magazine that we publish for our children under 12, here is a modestly checklist.

"When you get dressed to go to school, church, or just be with your friends, look over this checklist to make sure your appearance reflects what you believe. Ask yourself, “If I were with Jesus Christ, would I feel comfortable with my appearance?”
  •  My shoulders are covered.
  •  My shirt covers my stomach.
  •  My shorts or skirt go to my knees.
  •  My shirt is not low-cut.
  •  My clothes are not tight.
  •  I don’t look sloppy.
  •  My hair is combed.
  •  My clothes are not saggy, torn, or holey to fit in with a style.
  •  Labels or words on my clothes are respectful, not rude or offensive.

Tip: Sometimes you might think your clothes are modest—until you start moving around. To make sure you will still be modest if you bend over or run around, sing the Primary song, “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” and do the actions while you sing. If you can still be modest with all that movement, you’re ready to go"

Then they had this poster you could print off to hang in your room.  Notice the under dress leggings and dress top.  Notice the carpi pants.  Notice even the dogs are not showing cleavage.  The last few years it has felt like more and more articles on modesty are being directed toward my children and even lessons in sharing time are being taught about it.  Within my community there is also a huge market for "modest" clothing.  Lots of Mormon women wear shirts under or cardigans over their sleeveless dresses or shirts.  Capris in the summer are a Mormon girl's best friend.  Leggings under "too short" dresses or skirts have become all the rage.  When I was working in Young Women's (teaching the 12-18 year old girls in my church) we talked about modesty a lot.  In fact it went beyond just lessons or for the Strength of Youth, but actually one of our leaders felt the need to tell our girls if she felt their clothing wasn't modest enough.  In fact sometimes she would tell me if she felt my clothing wasn't modest enough.  Our Stake had also decided to take a stand on our young women's modesty.  For our youth conferences they have decided to ban leggings, even under dresses.  Then with girls camp last summer they sent out a memo that if a girl wore a swimsuit that was a two piece she would have to wear a t-shirt over it, this included tankinis.  I actually said out loud at the moment they read the memo, "Um, are they kidding."  Because first off we are talking about a place that is for girls where the only men there are leaders who are suppose to be there for safety, and I don't see why they'd have to hang out by the pool.  Secondly there wasn't a women leader in that room who doesn't wear a two piece.  In fact almost all the Mormon women I know chose to wear tankinis.  Personally I chose to wear one because the fit is better and my tankini top goes lower and covers more of my tummy and buns then any one piece bathing suit I've ever owned has.  The results, for the first time in my life I haven't felt like I needed to wear a shirt over the bathing suit I was wearing.  Oh the irony.

Personally there is a certain level of clothing I feel comfortable with and I've made a covenant to wear garments and that means that I have committed to cover those parts of my body that they cover.  The same was true when I went to BYU.  I knew what the standard was before I went to school there and I agreed to that.  But I do not feel comfortable with the aggressive manner my children are being targeted on the topic of modesty.  Mainly because I'm not entirely comfortable with the way the topic is taught.  Sometimes it feels like when it is taught we are given a checklist of do this and be good, do that and be bad.  More then I care to admit I've seen people look down on others who don't dress to our standard even if they have no reason to live the covenant we've made and that includes judging children who are wearing sleeveless dress.  Sometimes I put my daughters in sleeveless dress.  It really says more about me then it does about them and what is says about me is that I think my daughters are children and I don't have a problem with them occasionally wearing sleeveless summer dresses.  I also don't have a problem with them wearing leggings under their dresses to help them stay warm or to cover their underwear when they're trying to do flips in their dress, and I also buy my daughters two piece swim suits.  One, it is a lot easier to take them to the bathroom.  Two my oldest is WHITE, WHITE, WHITE!  And so to save her beautiful shoulders from the pounding sun at the pool I buy her a swim shirt and bikini bottoms.  This is sort of how I see clothing.  I see it as protection.  I see it as a way to cover our private parts because we belong to a culture and a religion that ask use to do so.  I see it as a way to express our individuality or our conformity if that is what we want.  I want my girls to feel comfortable in what they wear.  My mother was fairly lose with our clothing choices as  as children.  She didn't insist that we only wear shorts that went to our knees or that our shoulders were always covered.  Instead she made sure we were dressed appropriate to the event we were doing.  She would occasionally x out a particular piece of clothing if she felt like it wasn't appropriate but for the most part she really just made sure we were comfortable and dressed according.  The results are, when it was time for me to choose to go to the Temple, I still did it even if it meant giving up all my shorts and it wasn't a hard decision for me. As for my siblings, even the ones who are not currently active in the church still dress nicely and appropriate to the jobs they hold as grown women.  They may occasionally wear something that is sleeveless or doesn't reach the knee but they always look professional and age appropriate.  

Sometimes when I'm in a meeting and I'm listening to someone go off about the rising generation and how they aren't modest, I get a little frustrated because the truth is, we are not that modest.  I mean don't get me wrong.  I really appreciate being able to wear short sleeved shirts, or capris in the summer, or swimsuits, but I recognize that those behaviors for much of my own church's history wouldn't have been considered modest.  In fact the garment was changed to be shorter, which allows us to wear a whole host of things we wouldn't have been able to before and fit in more with regularly society.  Also in the broader scheme of the world we are not the most modest group. Our own break off fundamentalist church stays much closer to our past by having their women only wear dresses that go to their wrist and down the floor.  Other fundamental Christian and Jewish groups stick to very similar modesty rules, having women stay in dresses, keep their hair covered, and really shun modern fashion.  But if there was to be a modesty contest the true winners would be the Muslim world, and within that culture where women stay almost entirely covered the modesty debate still rages on.

When Captain E was 2 years old we went to the Middle East for the summer.  We primarily stayed in Amman, Jordan although we also spent some time in Egypt.  While there, I had a couple of experiences with modesty that really gave me some perspective on the culture of modesty in which I was raised.  The first happened while a group of the wives were walking home from a swim date.  After we left our friend's house we had to walk up a huge hill surrounded by a bunch of apartment buildings that were under construction to get to a bigger road where we could catch a taxi.  Most of the wives had worn long skirts or pants and long sleeved shirts but one girl, a newlywed in our group, was wearing a skirt that went to her knees and a short sleeved shirt.  It was an outfit that would have been entirely appropriate at the school that we were from or in any of our church meetings, but on this day as we walked up the hill with the wind blowing it was enough to bring men out of the buildings by the tens.  They lined the street we were walking on and actually seemed to be coming out of buildings in front of us making me wonder if a message was being sent by phone.  "Hey come out and see these American girls."  It made me exceptionally uncomfortable and I was relieved when we finally got into a taxi at the top of the street.

Another thing from my trip that struck me, in the Middle East many people consider it not modest to have your hair showing so many girls wear headscarves.  One time we went over to visit a family and the teenage girls asked me to come back into their room so they could talk to me and see Captain E without having to be around Dr. J, because being around men who are not from their family made them really uncomfortable.  The girls and I were just hanging out, it was the sister of one of Dr. J's friends and her cousin, when all of the sudden the brother walked into the room.  The cousin sort of gave a little scream and quickly pulled her headscarf on because she considered it immodest for any non immediate member of her family to see her without it.  He was her cousin, but that was still far enough removed to make her uncomfortable.

Another thing I found interesting about the Middle East was that we would see really stylish Muslim girls all the time who were totally covered but still looked adorable.  This is a stock photo because I can't get on my Jordan blog when I'm on this blog but this is pretty typical of what you'd see on the college campus.  Girls would wear long lose tunics but maybe skinny jeans, or slimmer skirts.  They might wear leggings and boots.  They'd have cute shoes on, colorful scarves and cute purses.  I fell in love with their style, found it totally adorable and recognized that it not only met my standards of modesty but blew them out of the water.  Which is why when a few months ago my friend Bridget (oh isn't she such a rebel rouser) posted some Muslim hi-jab memes I was a little in shock.  Turns out that there is actually a kick back against these kinds of girls, that they are not modest enough.

This one gave me a little laugh because it reminded me of that summer in Jordan.  There we are BYU approved girls, at number two.


Here is the style I love so much.  Guess it isn't cutting it.

Another one.

Or even this one telling girls how they are not covering enough of their hair or chest area.

It was illuminating.  The thing is, what is considered modest varies depending on your culture, your country of origin, your religion, or even just personal preference and opinion.  What one person might consider modest other people might see as completely revealing.  I'm not saying throw all you expectations out, but I do think we need to be a little more understanding.  People who don't dress to our standard are not necessarily bad people.  People who do dress to our standard are not necessarily good people (I'm thinking about you mean girl in my sister's old ward).  Each person is unique and has their own history and own standards.  In my case I've made a covenant that ask me to dress a specific way but it doesn't make me better than anyone else, and I certainly don't have the right to use my personal life as a standard to judge others, because let's face it, I'd rather not be judged as lacking by those who dress more covered then I do.  I respect everyone's opinions and their right's to dress themselves or their children according to what they think it appropriate but I just wanted to point out that our "absolute standard" has actually changed and so maybe we can leave this topic a little bit more to families  to decide what they feel is appropriate rather then telling six years girls that they are immodest in a dress their mother put them in.


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