Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Weighing In....

At just 19 days Colton has gained 2 lbs 1 oz for a total of 8 lbs 6 oz! Wow. He is going to be a monster. He is also 21" today. Thanks to everyone for all of your love and support. I sure do love my little man. He is such a cute little thing, even if he does keep me up all of the time :-) Mom and Dad can't stop kissing him. More to come....

Thursday, December 03, 2009

38 Weeks

37 Weeks

Wow...that looks big :-)

Colton's Utah Baby Shower

Gift table with way cute diaper cake and name sign

The way cute diaper cake!

Scrapped-out cake mix w/ icing and frosting at the giveaway table

Giveaways for a drawing every half hour. Entry fee was diapers or wipes :-)

Delicious food table. We had hot chocolate with all kinds of toppings, fruit, dip and breads!

The hot chocolate toppings

Baby Shower invite. These turned out so cute!
I had a lot of fun and am really appreciative of my BFF Marcie putting it together for me. She did a great job and everyone had a good time!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Hello from baby Colton! I'm 36 weeks!

Right at 36 weeks!

One of my friends took me up to the hospital and did a 3-D ultrasound for like 45 mins yesterday. It was so fun and I absolutely love getting to see him so much! I have gotten so spoiled! This is right at 36 weeks. I got a little DVD and CD of pictures.

Friday, November 06, 2009

2009 Christmas Name Exchange

Here are the results:

Mom and Dad: Melissa, Nate and kids :-)

Jeremy, Chauntel and kids

Jeremy and Chauntel: Mom and Dad

Melissa and Nate:
Mike, Charla and kids

Mike and Charla: Amy, Dusty and Colton

Amy and Dusty: Jason

Thursday, November 05, 2009

One of the best articles I've ever read, and everyone should read

Diagnosing and Treating


By Thomas G. Plummer
BYU TODAY September 1989

In Hamlet, Act I, Scene 3, Laertes warns his sister, Ophelia, to avoid falling in love with Hamlet, whose advances, he claims, are prompted by fleeting, youthful lust. He cautions her against Hamlet's "unmastered importunity" and counsels her that "best safety lies in fear." Then her father, Polonius, begins to meddle. He knows, he tells Ophelia, that she has responded to Hamlet's attention and then informs her that she "does not understand [herself] so clearly." He asks if she believes Hamlet's affections are genuine, to which Ophelia responds, "I do not know, my lord, what I should think." Polonius answers, "I'll teach you. Think yourself a baby. . . ."

In this scene Shakespeare has given us the essence of what I call the "Ophelia Syndrome. " It requires two players, a Polonius and an Ophelia. It is condensed into these two lines: "I do not know, my lord, what I should think," and, "I'll teach you. Think yourself a baby." Ophelia does not know what she should think, and Polonius, reducing her to the stature of a baby, presumes to tell her. Polonius pontificates. He purports to know answers when he has none. He claims to have truth when he himself obscures it. He feigns expertise by virtue of his authority. But his real interest is power: he clamors to be a parent to other adults and exhorts them to become children to his word. Ophelia is worse than naive. She is chronically ignorant, chronically dependent, and chronically submissive. She is an adult who chooses to be a baby, one who does not know her own opinions and who would not express them to an authority if she did.

S.I. Hayakawa describes symptoms of the Ophelia Syndrome in his essay, "What Does It Mean to Be Creative?":

Most people don't know the answer to the question, "How are you? How do you feel?" The reason why they don't know is that they are so busy feeling what they are supposed feel, thinking what they are supposed to think, that they never get down to examining their own deepest feelings. "How did you like the play?" "0h, it was a fine play. It was well reviewed in The New Yorker." With authority figures like drama critics and book reviewers and teachers and professors telling us what to think and how to feel, many of us are busy playing roles, fulfilling other people's expectations. As Republicans, we think what other Republicans think. As Catholics, we think what other Catholics think. And so on. Not many of us ask ourselves, "How do I feel? What do I think?" - and wait for an answer. (S.I. Hayakawa, "What Does It Mean to Be Creative?," Through the Communication Barrier. ed. Arthur Chandler [New York: Harper & Row, 1979], 104-105)

Charles Schulz characterized the Ophelia Syndrome more succinctly in this "Peanuts" cartoon: (Charlie Brown's little sister says: "We've been reading poems in school, but I never understand any of them.. How am I supposed to know which poems to like?" Charlie Brown answers: "Somebody tells you.")

Psychologist Carl Jung describes this dependence on others for one's thoughts in the context of his discussion of "individuation." Individuation is the process of learning to differentiate oneself from others. It is a psychological "growing up." It means to discover those aspects of the self that distinguish one person from another. Failure to achieve individuation leaves people dependent on other, stronger personalities for their identity. They fail to understand their uniqueness. (Carl G. Jung, Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious [New York: Pantheon Books, 1959])

I have a friend who is fond of saying, "If we both think the same way, one of us is unnecessary." The clone, the chameleon personality is the Ophelia Syndrome in another form. One reading of Ophelia's suicide later in Hamlet suggests that because she has no thoughts of her own, because she has listened only to the contradictory voices of the men around her - Laertes, Polonius, and Hamlet - she reaches a breaking point. They have all used her: "She is only valued for the roles that further other people's plots. Treated as a helpless child, she finally becomes one..." (David Leverenz, "The Women In Hamlet: An Interpersonal View," Signs: Journal of Woman in Culture and Society 4 [1978]: 302-303) Her childishness is just a step along the regression to suicide, a natural - if not logical - solution to her dependence on conflicting authorities.

The Ophelia Syndrome manifests itself in universities. The Ophelia (substitute a male name, if you choose) writes copious notes in every class and memorizes them for examinations. (Erich Fromm, "Learning," To Have or To Be [New York: Harper & Row], 17-19) The Polonius writes examination questions that address just what was covered in the textbook or lectures. The Ophelia wants to know exactly what the topic for a paper should be. The Polonius prescribes it. The Ophelia wants to be a parrot, because it feels safe. The Polonius enjoys making parrot cages. In the end, the Ophelia becomes the clone of the Polonius, and one of them is unnecessary. I worry often that universities may be rendering their most serious students, those who have been "good" all their lives, vulnerable to the Ophelia Syndrome rather than motivating them to individuation.

And so what? Is it such a bad thing to emulate teachers? What if you are a student of biochemistry or German grammar? Then you have to memorize information and take notes from instructors who know more, because the basic material is factual. There is no other way. And this is a temporary condition of many areas of study. But eventually every discipline enters into the unknown, the uncertain, the theoretical, the hypothetical, where teachers can no longer tell students with certainty what they should think. It is only an illusion, a wish of the Ophelias and the Poloniuses that literary texts have just one interpretation or that the exact sciences be exact. At its best, even science is a creative art. Hayakawa quotes his good friend Alfred Korzybski as saying,

Creative scientists know very well from observation of themselves that all creative work starts as a feeling, inclination, suspicion, intuition, hunch, or some other nonverbal affective state, which only at a later date, after a sort of nursing, takes the shape of verbal expression worked out later in a rationalized, coherent ... theory. (Hayakawa, 105)

Most of us have metaphors - either subconsciously or consciously - of our student experience. I asked several of my students about theirs. One said he thinks of himself as a computer with insufficient memory. He is able to enter information but cannot recall it. One said he is a sieve. A lot of stuff goes right on through, but important pieces stay lodged. One said she feels like a pedestrian in front of a steamroller, and the driver will not give her any hints about how to get out of the way. Another described his metaphor as a tennis match in which he must anticipate his instructor's response to each shot. Another thought of herself as a dog jumping through a hoop. Another described himself as a mouse in a maze with no directional signs and no exits. Another as a child in a candy store where you can choose only one or two pieces to take home. These metaphors describe people at various stages along the way from Ophelia to individuation.

Talk is cheap. It's fine to say, "Learn to think for yourself," and it's quite another to do it. A recent Fortune magazine article described the plight of middle managers in American corporations. Driven by chief executive officers at the top for greater profits and productivity, many are working 70 or 80 hours a week and sometimes more. The article reports that the corporate byword for urging these people on is "think smarter." But since no one really knows what that means or how to think smarter, they just work longer. And people are burning out. ("Is Your Company Asking Too Much?," Fortune, March 12, 1990: 39-46)

Learning to think while still in college has its advantages. It may mean shorter working hours later on. It may mean not having a mid-life crisis because you chose to study what you wanted rather than something that someone else wanted you to study. It may mean becoming your own person. It may, purely and simply, mean a much happier life. I want to suggest six things you can do - six things I wish I had done - to treat the Ophelia Syndrome.



How do you find them? First of all, they have a reputation among students. They are known to set people on fire, to inspire them. They are known to be challenging, fair, and tough. They refuse to be a Polonius, they refuse to make you a baby, and they refuse to do your thinking for you. They join you as a partner in a learning and research enterprise. I recently heard a nationally televised interview with violinist Itzhak Perlman and his teacher, Dorothy Delay, at Julliard School of Music. Perlman, now 45, was sent to Julliard as a gifted child prodigy. He was angry to have been sent to New York, far from his friends and family in Israel, and he was furious to live in the Julliard student hotel, an environment that he considered unseemly.

The interviewer asked him how he had liked his teacher.

"I hated her," he replied.

Ms. Delay, a gentle woman with an air of complete calm, smiled into the camera.

"I hated her," he repeated.

"Why?" the interviewer asked.

"She would never tell me what to do," said Perlman. "She would stop me in the middle of a scale and say, 'Now Itzhak, what is your concept of a C-sharp?' It made me furious. She refused to tell me what to do. But," he went on, "I began to think as I played. My playing became an engaging intellectual exercise in which I understood every note and why I played it the way I did, because I had thought about it myself."

In that same spirit, Wayne Booth in his book, The Vocation of a Teacher, asserts that regardless of whether a teacher lectures or runs discussions, the "teacher has failed if students leave the classroom assuming that the task of thinking through to the next step lies entirely with the teacher." (Wayne C. Booth, "What Little I Think I Know About Teaching," The Vocation of a Teacher [Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988], 214) To this point, Booth adds three more principles that will help teachers and students avoid the Polonius role. Addressing instructors he writes,

1. You gotta get them talking to each other, not just to you or to the air.

2. You gotta get them talking about the subject, not just having a bull session in which nobody really listens to anybody else. This means insisting on at least the following rule in every discussion: Whether I call on you or you speak up spontaneously, please address the previous speaker, or give a reason for changing the subject.

3. You gotta find ways to prevent yourself from relapsing into a badly prepared lecturette, disguised as a discussion. Informal lectures are usually worse than prepared ones. (Booth, 215)



Perhaps it goes without saying that you cannot know what to think if you do not know who you are. People go about self-discovery in various ways, and I can only share my own experience. I did not begin a truly honest search for my "self" until I was 40 years old. Then it became an obsession. I took personality tests. I re-read old letters I had written and received. I began keeping a journal. I wish I had done it all 20 years before.

I now keep track of myself and my thinking through writing. I write letters and keep copies of what I write. I have had two sons on missions, and I make sure that I say things to them not only that I want to say but also that I want to remember. Second, I keep a journal - sporadically but frequently. I never take more than five or ten minutes to write in it, and when I write, I write intensively. I write to find my own voice, my own thoughts. I do not worry about who may read it later. It is for me. I write about my subconscious as well as my conscious self, because I believe that dreams do much of my thinking for me. Here is a dream from November 15,1987:

Louise and I were driving through a sparsely populated, desolate area, The car engine faltered and quit. Luckily just across the road was a Chevron station. I knew the repair work was minor and pushed the car into the station. It was ready later in the day.

The service station attendant pushed a credit card bill toward me and said, "Sign here. "

I signed. "How much was the repair?" I asked.

"$963," he replied.

"$963? What cost $963?" 1 was incredulous.

"Well, the repair work, and we put in a new dashboard."

"A new dashboard? How come a new dashboard?"

"The old one was scratched up," he replied.

"Why didn't you ask me before you did that?" I was now screaming. "I won't pay."

"You've signed the bill," he said. "You have to pay." His voice was gravely, firm.

He was right. I'd signed the bill. I had to pay.

"Just let me see the bill again," I asked. "I won't destroy it. I'm not a cheater."

Reluctantly he let me take it. I could tell he didn't trust me. Other mechanics surrounded me and stared, sober faced, menacing. Heavy, burly faces. I looked at the bill. $963. It will take months and months to pay off.

As I look back through this journal, I rediscover myself. There are notes about my son's crisis with his mission president, a painful chapter, and my efforts to play diplomat. There is a love note from my wife, notes on a line from Blake's poem,"London," reflections on a painting in our dining room, a list of highlights from 25 years of marriage, a greedy wish list for ourselves, plans for a trip to Tokyo. a red horse chestnut blossom from a BYU tree. and a poem in reference to William Carlos Williams:

The chocolate hazelnut torte
At the Market Street Broiler
After a bowl of clam chowder
Makes more of a difference
Than that red wheelbarrow.

There is a tribute to shrimp scampi, eaten at dinner at Sundance on May 5, 1989, with Elizabeth and Daryl Pedersen:

Hail shrimp scampi, a flourish of trumpets!Shrimp beats the hell out of tea and crumpets!Shrimp and pasta and garlic butter,Divine crustaceans, you set me aflutter.

The point is this: as I write my life, I learn my thoughts, whether good or ill, conscious or subconscious. They are my thoughts, and as I come to recognize them I become less and less vulnerable to the Ophelia Syndrome through which others once dictated my life to me.

You can also increase your confidence in your own judgment if you take courses that teach you how to ask good questions, how to define the terms of your position, how to employ strategies of rhetoric and logical argumentation, and how to employ critical theory. Such courses may be elementary philosophy classes, advanced literature classes, or math classes. One of my colleagues once quipped, "If a course isn't about method, it isn't about much of anything." I believe that.

As you come to know yourself and gain confidence in critical skills, you must also learn to play your hunches, to follow your intuition through. You truly are the only one who knows what you think and feel, and you, consequently, are the only one who knows what feelings and ideas you must follow through on.



To put it differently, surrender the need for absolute truth. The English poet John Keats wrote a landmark letter to his brothers, George and Thomas Keats, on December 22, 1817. It has become known as the letter on "Negative Capability." In part it reads, struck me what quality went to form a Man [or Woman] of Achievement, especially in Literature, and which Shakespeare possessed so enormously - I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.

I do not want to do Keats an injustice by oversimplifying a magnificent statement, but I believe he is saying essentially this: The world is a complex place, and absolute truth is elusive, indeed; the greatness in Shakespeare may be attributed to the fact that he didn't feel inclined to explain what he could not, but only to portray the human condition as he saw it.

This concept drives a stake into the heart of the notion that Polonius has the answers. Overcoming the Ophelia Syndrome, becoming an independent thinker, includes giving up romantic notions of the world as a place where everything can be explained. It includes giving up the need to be fooled into thinking that Polonius does indeed have the answers when he does not. I wish he did. I wish I did. I wish any or all of my colleagues did. We do not. We can only join with students and others in the pursuit of answers, and even then we must remain ultimately in some degree of uncertainty.

The corollary to this is that to treat the Ophelia Syndrome, one must develop a healthy distrust of authorities and experts. Experts disagree more often than they agree. Those who pose as authorities are as likely to be a Polonius trying to turn Ophelia into a baby as they are to have a real handle on what they are talking about. Is there a solution? I can think of two: First, for every important opinion you hear, get a second opinion. Second, in the words of the Lord in the 9th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, study it out in your own heart.

When I was in graduate school, I took a seminar on Heinrich von Kleist from Bernhard Blume, one of the grand old men of German scholarship. One day we were to discuss a paper by a classmate, Ken Tigar, on Kleist's play, Der zerbrochene Krug. The paper seemed sound enough to the rest of us. Tigar's argument was based on a description written by Professor Walter Muschg, the great Kleist scholar at the University of Basel, of a plate with figures engraved on it. Professor Blume came to class with a large volume under his arm. He opened it to a picture of the plate that Muschg had described and passed it around.

"Well," he asked, "what do you see?"

No one saw anything.

"Does the woman look pregnant to you?" he asked.

Ken's face blanched.

Professor Blume continued, "No. But Muschg says she is pregnant, and Mr. Tigar's paper rests on that premise."

Ken stammered, "I just thought Muschg would be right."

Professor Blume shut the book and said, "Let that be a lesson to you. Never trust anyone. You must examine the source yourself."



By dialectical thinking, I mean thinking in alternatives and, if possible, in opposites. (William G. Perry, Jr., "Cognitive and Ethical Growth: The Making of Meaning," The Modern American College, eds. Arthur W. Chickering et al [San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1981], 76-116.) If you hear one solution to a problem, look for an alternative solution. If you write a draft from one point of view, write a revision from another point of view. If you formulate an argument on a point, try to formulate a counter argument. I have one student who writes his journal entries in dialogues. The speakers argue with each other. He is thinking dialectically. If you see things from a male point of view, think about them from a female point of view for a change. Psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg defines morality as the ability to see an issue from points of view other than just your own. He cites E.M Foster's observation that most of the trouble in the world is due to our "inability to imagine the innerness of others lives." (Lawrence Kohlberg, "A Cognitive Developmental Approach to Moral Education," Humanist 32.6 [1972]:15)

And this is where your peers come in. They represent alternative points of view. Their ideas are as important - if not more important - than your instructor's. The most memorable hours of my graduate education were not spent in the classroom. Some were spent with classmates in the café across the street after class. That is where Vicki Rippere, my classmate from Barnard, introduced me to critical theory. Some were spent in the graduate students' room on the third floor of Boylston Hall. That is where Bodo Reichenbach and Mark Lowry debated hotly for two hours about whether Faust was a moral man.

You may have to please Polonius by writing acceptable papers for him, but your peers will teach you how to escape his power as you wrestle with them.



I asked a friend of mine, a neurologist, how he thinks. He said, "If I have to tell a patient something hard, and I don't know how to do it, I sit in my office and daydream or fantasize about something that has nothing to do with the problem. When I'm through, I know what I have to say." This is a strategy for thinking by disengaging with the subject.

My wife, a fiction writer, gets her best ideas by taking long, hot baths. She doesn't try to think in the tub. She just soaks. Ideas float in of their own volition. Other people may take hikes, play basketball, or ride bikes. Still others may read novels or magazines. Idle thinking frees the mind for creative ideas. Hayakawa suggests that the creative person "is able to entertain and play with ideas that the average person may regard as silly, mistaken, or downright dangerous."

One of my students asked me if I thought television was bad for your mind. He said his father was always arguing that students in his day did more thinking than students today. I may have answered unequivocally "yes" to that question 10 years ago. Now I am not so sure. If television is a means of retreating totally from thinking, then of course it is bad. But it may be as entertaining and pleasant as a hike or a long bath. The answer is no longer so clear-cut for me.



By "out of bounds," I mean out of the limits that Polonius may have prescribed for you. Independent thinking means to question the presumed bounds of thinking, reading, writing, or learning in general. A colleague at BYU once told me that years ago as a student, in a moment of boredom and desperation, he wrote a final examination in the form of a rhymed poem. He got an "A."

My own best experience with this was two years ago. It was Saturday night, the last night of final examinations, 7 to 10 p.m. I dutifully carried prepared tests to my class on "Reader-Response Theory," a course for advanced undergraduate and graduate humanities students. As I walked through the door, Holly Lavenstein, a gutsy student now enrolled in a graduate program in film making in Chicago, met me. She looked me straight in the eye and said, "We don't want to write an examination."

Now Holly didn't threaten me at all, but the better part of honesty told me that the written exam I had under my arm was an exercise in futility. The students had already written three papers, a weekly journal, and complete reading notes. What more did I need to grade them?

"Well, we have to have a final," I said. My voice lacked conviction.

"Yes, but not that one," she replied, pointing to the stack I was cradling. "If you'll step out in the hall for five minutes, we'll give you an alternative proposal."

Obediently I stepped back into the hall of the Maeser Building and sat on the steps. There was a lot of talking going on behind the door, and I could tell the tone was earnest, the atmosphere heated. In about five minutes, Holly poked her head out and motioned me in.

"We want a group oral examination," she said.

"And how's that supposed to work?" I asked.

"You just sit and watch," she said, "and we'll talk about what we learned in the course. "I will lead the discussion. You don't have to do anything."

"OK," I said, "On two conditions: First, everyone has to talk; and, second, everyone gets the same grade as the lowest performer on the exam."

Those were two of the finest hours of my entire career. The conversation was lively and challenging. The class became united. People who hadn't said five words all semester were talking like crazy. Of course the group would have killed them if they hadn't. They talked reasonably, they argued, they screamed and hollered at each other.

When three hours had passed, Holly turned to me and said, "Well, how did we do?"

"'A'," I said. "The best 'A' I ever gave."

The point here, however, is not that grade. The point is that this class, as a group, realized that their learning experience was more important than the grade, and they were willing to put all of their grades on the line to prove it. Sometimes escaping the Ophelia Syndrome means taking that kind of risk.

Treating the Ophelia Syndrome has its price. Only you can decide whether taking control of your education, whether using college as a time to achieve individuation, is worth it:

1) It may take time. A student in my class said, "I don't have time to learn to think in college." He said it sincerely. I inferred from what he said that getting out of college on a fast track was important to him. He wanted to be shown the hoops and jump through them. One of the costs of thinking is time. It means enrolling in courses not relevant to your major or minor because you want to take some great teacher outside your field. Or it may mean investing more time in discussions with classmates than you want to spare. Thinking takes time.

2) It means tolerating confusion about insoluble problems rather than finding "safety" in the arms of a Polonius who offers you a security blanket.

3) It means possibly getting lower grades than you'd like while you take a challenging teacher or try something out of the ordinary on an assignment.

4) It may mean going against the advice of people you love. One student noted in my class that it was hard to grow up as a good child and then study something that worries or frightens your parents. At the end of Act I, Scene 3, Ophelia submits to Polonius: "I shall obey, my lord."

To all of this I can only ask, which is the greater price to pay: "To think or not to think?"

Dr. Thomas G. Plummer is a professor of Germanic and Slavic Languages at BYU. He delivered this faculty lecture to Delta Phi Alpha, the German Honor Society, April 5, 1990.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

33 Weeks

Well, what a week. That's about all I can say :-) It has been full of trials, but today was a much needed day of rest and renewal. Today at church was great. We had our primary program and I felt the Spirit so much as I watched the children, listened to and sang the songs and felt so much love that Heavenly Father had for me too. I had two powerful examples to me there at Church today and even amidst their pain and turmoil were still thinking of me and offering me assistance with something today. Just their sheer concern for me made me feel deeper faith.

I can't even tell you how excited I am to open up to this crazy, wonderful, faith-filled adventure they call motherhood! I feel the tender mercies of the Lord more and more everyday as I focus on the things that matter, and strive each day to renew my faith in Him and know that all of my temporal needs to come together.

I have experienced MUCH more hormonal drama this trimester than the others put together and Dusty is handling it like a champ :-) The baby is moving great and still kickin' strong. He has his favorite place to just get stuck in my ribs, and, although it's painful, I have to admit I still smile through the pain (sometimes :-) just thinking about him and how soon we will be in each other's arms.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

32 Weeks

Well, today is a day I can say I didn't want to post a photo. I have been so sick with indigestion it's ridiculous. Dusty was trying to make me laugh and he did succeed, but this is an in between photo. I am entitled to my off-days, right?! I felt great this morning and then, BAM. One of my preggo friends, who was due after me, actually ended up having her baby today. It just makes me a little anxious of not being ready and just knowing that any day little Colton can make his appearance. There is so much still left to do...not even decorating or any small stuff...I am past that. I just have to learn to go with the flow, something that pregnancy (and I am sure motherhood) will teach me one way or another. So, I guess it's better to learn my lesson now so we don't have repeat it over and over...I'll let ya know how that goes :-) Here's to week 32! May it NOT include so much indigestion :-)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Save on Shipping

Dusty uses a service for his animals where he ships UPS and gets 30% off the total bill. They have a sister site where you can get 30% of by shipping UPS no matter what you are shipping. Dusty has saved more than $500 by using this service. You just need a way to weigh your box and know the dimensions. You pay online, print out the shipping label and then drop it off at any UPS or Staples UPS-type shipping center or schedule a pick up from your house.

I know some of you guys would great benefit from this and with Christmas (and Colton's arrival... whoops, did I say that?) just around the corner, I thought I'd share :-)

Thursday, October 08, 2009

30 Weeks!

Well, here I am at 30 weeks. I think everything about pregnancy is crazy, exciting, faith-filled...I could go on. Today has been one of those days where I have had to really cling to faith to remember that things will work out and somehow all of the issues, big and small, will be taken care of. Dusty and I both feel like a mac truck hit us most days these days. haha I know, I know, just wait till Colton comes...

Life is full of so much uncertainty right now with EVERYTHING but I don't want to dwell on things that are going wrong so much as I feel compelled to say how much I love family. I live for family. Everything I strive for is to become better for myself so I can in turn be my best for my family. I am glad to know that I know Heavenly Father knows my heart, needs, desires and I am grateful that I know that I can communicate to Him at all times. I am grateful to have just had conference and been reminded and comforted by the testimonies of the Lord's servants.

I am so excited to grow my little family and meet Mr. Colton. By the way, we have decided on a name: Colton Daniel Rhoads. I love it! I just feel like I know it fits him! Daniel is Dusty's middle name.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

28 Weeks

I was actually in KY during my 28 weeks and loving every second. It was great to see so many people and friends I knew and spend some quality time with family. I didn't take many photos so here is one with me at the shower. I can't remember much about how I felt that week. Usually when I go to KY I sleep in far too late everyday but I actually got up like from like 7 - 9 am each morning...sometimes even on my own :-)
I do remember, however, bringing a t-shirt with me to sleep in and one night making a late night grocery run with my mom in my pj's and realizing that my belly was hanging out of the shirt! Gross! I felt like one of those photos from "The People of Wal-Mart" sites. hahaha Oh well. Lots to blame on pregnancy. I only have 10 more weeks of that excuse so I'll take it where I can.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Trip Home

It's always so refreshing to be able to go home for a visit, no matter the occasion. This time it really flew by while I was there. My mother is as loving and funny and comforting and FUN as usual. My dad is, well..., dad :-) Charla and Mike are as cute and funny as ever. I love getting to see them as parents with those FUNNY boys. I got some quality time with my brother Jason eating breakfast at the Cheesecake Factory....and yes we only ordered cheesecake! I got to spend some special time with my sister during a very important time in her life. My little nephews don't seem so little anymore. And our family is ever-expanding.

I think I love going home so much because there is laughter everywhere. I love each person's sense of humor. Being around family reminds you of what is important in life. I never have anything pressing that I want to do when I go home because being with them is enough. I feel so blessed to be apart of our awesome family :-) Here are a few pics of the trip. I didn't take nearly as many pics as I usually do...These were two men on a water-break mission. They told the parents to have the kids take a water break and after Evan remembered we were there, it was all over. He was doing good till he remembered we were there.

I don't know how or why it started but every single person in my family "likes" to be / get scared. "Uncle" Mike and "Uncle" Jason are the best at it. All of the kids love it and it's like a contest to top the best scare every time. It's made for some funny stories though :-) My mother is one of the worst... Here is Mike scaring the heck out of Blake and Evan. Sorry I cut off your head, Mike, but it would have been WAY scarier with it in the shot.

Here is the pro's action shot. I loved getting to go to one of his little soccer games. I only wish I could see all of my nephews and niece LIVE in action!

This was taken during clean up of the baby shower. Melissa, Charla and mom did a great job and we all had a lot of fun. I think we were all exhausted at that point!

This was a shot of Eli that I had to grab. That little man is ALWAYS on the go. He doesn't stop for a minute. He has his mind made up and that is that; get out of his way :-) Those balloons kept all three kids going and going and without (hardly) any fighting. :-)

This is my brother, Jason. He was gone a lot of the time I was there but I managed to get to hang with him a lot while he was home. I love kickin' it with him.

I can't remember what face Evan calls this but for some reason I think it looks a lot like Mike when he was little.

More pictures to come...

Monday, September 28, 2009

emailed response to my opinion on health care reform

September 28, 2009

Dear Mrs. Rhoads,

Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns with me about our health care system. Although the United States has the highest quality health care in the world, a majority of Americans agree that there is need for significant reform. I am working on ways to address the problems dealing with accessibility, availability, and affordability of health insurance.

Before I address my alternatives to health care reform, let me take a moment and explain why I am opposed to the current health care proposal before the House.

At its core, I am opposed to increasing the federal government's control over health care. I fundamentally disagree with the idea that a federally-funded government health insurance option would improve the current system. While proponents of this approach argue that Americans would not be required to drop their health insurance and join the public plan, we must understand the "public option" would not operate on an even playing field. Simply put, a public health care option would result in fewer choices for Americans and lead to a single-payer system. A single-payer system would eventually lead to socialized medicine. While I am willing to work towards real health care reform, I will not vote for any health care bill that includes any type of public option. Additionally, I believe if members of Congress vote to pass a bill which includes a government run insurance plan, then those members should have to enroll in that plan as well.

I am also opposed to any health care bill that would increase taxes and increase the federal deficit. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the current health care proposal before the House would cost upwards of $1.5 trillion over a 10 year period. I ran for Congress on the idea that government needs to tighten its belt and learn to do more with less.

I am also against cutting funding to the Medicare Advantage program in order to fund other reforms to which I am adamantly opposed. I believe Medicare Advantage is a good alternative which incorporates many free market principles.

There are numerous proposals in the health care debate that I support and should be included in any bill that passes Congress. The health care reform bill should:

o Incentivize preventive care,
o Provide affordable access to insurance,
o Make policies portable,
o Cover pre-existing conditions,
o Allow opt-out provisions for states,
o Allow private insurers to compete across state lines,
o Promote more transparency in pricing and effectiveness of health care services.

These are not controversial provisions; these are provisions for which I would vote. Furthermore, both sides would likely admit these ideas would go a long way toward lowering costs and improving our health care system. I think we could solve a major portion of the health care problem by simply passing the provisions upon which we can agree.

I was also heartened to learn that President Obama was open to discussing lawsuit abuse reform as a tool for driving down costs. I believe that any health care plan absolutely must include such reform. Similarly, I believe that any health care bill that becomes law must prohibit the use of federal dollars to fund abortions and include a provision to exclude health insurance coverage to those in our country illegally.

Although there are many plans under consideration from both Republicans and Democrats, I have yet to find one that I believe would be the best solution for Utah. While there are promising provisions in each of the current proposals, most plans take a one-size-fits-all federal approach to health care. In reality, what works well in one state may not work as well in another. I believe that we will obtain the best results when we allow states as much autonomy as possible to address their unique challenges. I hope more states will follow the lead of states like Utah to innovate and experiment with new ways to improve health care for their residents. We would do well to unleash the creative power of state and local governments to innovate and drive new solutions.

In other words, the health care solutions should be driven by the states, not the federal government.

Again, thank you for your input and ideas. The process of reforming health care is very important. If we have a bad process, we will get a bad result. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please feel free to contact my office.


Jason Chaffetz
Member of Congress

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

26 Weeks

This is a new dress that a VERY kind lady my sister works with sent me. She bought me some new maternity clothes at a Gap Outlet store just because she is amazingly, wonderful and nice. I hope I can be more of that kind of person to people.

OK. I don't know why, but here are lots of photos. I had my 26 week apt this week and things are looking good still. I get to drink the delicious drink stuff in the next two weeks and then just go in to the doc's office to get blood drawn after I drink it. I like it better doing it that way on my own time rather than fasting, drinking, wait an hour etc. (P.S. I got the orange falvored one....)So things are good, ALTHOUGH the doc did tell me that I could have done better with my weight gain this last month....opps! HAHA I actually thought I was going to cry and then I just realized that it's a good wake up call and gauge of what I should be doing and know that I can do better. We ate out a lot throughout our vacation. My tailbone has been feeling better than I thought it would be at this point so Dusty and I have started working out together. I am going pansy light weights but hopefully it will still make a difference.

Week 25

I don't really have many photos of myself for this week. I was the one taking pictures mostly. This is right outside of Magic Kingdom. We walked miles and miles everyday and I didn't even mind. Dusty and I said we were both on Mickey Crack! It's true. We were nonstop the WHOLE time but it was so much fun!

Monday, September 07, 2009

24 Weeks!

I can't even remember details of this surprise though. I just remember being really busy and starting to get a little more energy! I think I wrote stuff in my journal this week, but you guys just get a picture :-)

Amy's Birthday

Well, it's a little late but on August 20th I had a great birthday. Dusty's mom was in town and he went out of his way to get the house nice and surprise me with all kinds of princess balloons, a cold stone ice cream cake and a few nice presents! I was very surprised and so happy to have a little celebration. It was also a kick off to our Disney World vacation, a.k.a. Babymoon, we took last to come. We had a BLAST!

conversation with five 6-year-olds in primary

Are you getting a baby?

Yes! I am. Isn't that exciting? (10 little hands proceed to rub my belly during the "reverence message")

Is it a boy or a girl?

A Boy!


It looks like a girl.

But, you can't see him.

He's wearing pink.

Well, I am wearing pink, but he isn't. He's inside my belly.

Well, I'm getting a baby too.

You are? Well, one day you will and you will be a great mommy.

Yep. and it's gonna be a girl THEN a boy.

(...touching my belly she asks) Why is it so hard?

(...before I have time to answer another little girl answers) Well, I think it's soft.

....Class continues as they rub and poke my belly. Not one of them would stay in their seats. Good times :-)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Daddy's first kick!

Dusty got to feel the baby kick last night like 3 or 4 times. It was so fun. The baby is so active at night right when I try and go to sleep. I guess he is prepping me for his late nights starting in December!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

23 Weeks!

It's been a while. I have been chastised enough for not posting photos! 23 weeks today and kickin :-) Things have been pretty smooth sailing these past two weeks. Doctor check up is fine and baby seems to be strong and healthy. We have been picking names and getting down to the fun stuff! I have had a few emotional rides this week and those are NEVER fun, but hey. That's life I guess. One thing I have been doing that I wish I hadn't is giving in to sugar cravings! I haven't really wanted sugar but the past week and a half has been another story... I have a goal to really plan my meals and take charge of that one before it gets out of hand!! I love it when I feel the baby move because I remember I'm not just fat :-)

Dusty's mom is coming in town tomorrow and that is always fun to have relatives here. I can't wait to go to KY next month and Dusty and I are taking a "babymoon" next week as one big hoorah before the baby comes!

I have realized, yet again, that one of my biggest faults is wanting things done now and freaking out that things won't come together in time. Yet, they always do. I do have to say though that sometimes this trait is a strength because it brings out the organizer in me and I become efficient etc. but I just wish I could do it without the stress. The whole faith over fear thing is one thing I always work on...but I am getting there! I do know that things will work out. I mean, I have so many wonderful people around me who love me, I have a testimony of the Savior and the Gospel, a husband who is trying his best to prepare himself to take the BEST possible care of our little family.

Life is good :-)