Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Marriage, Children...and Voting

When it comes to politics and elections and everything these two topics entail, I normally keep my mouth shut and my opinions to myself. However, this upcoming election includes one issue that is so important to me, I simply cannot keep my mouth shut.

The topic I am referring to is marriage...specifically in regard to Prop 102 (Arizona) and Prop 8 (California). Simply put, these two propositions are intended to secure the definition of marriage as the union between one man and one woman. For me, however, it is so much more than just that...it is about protecting the children....my children, your children, our children....the children of this nation. It is also about protecting my religion. If these propositions fail, the public school systems will be required to teach our children that same-sex marriage is normal and right and no different than traditional marriage. Churches will be forced to recognize and perform same-sex marriages, whether they believe in them or not, and churches who refuse to do so may be sued.

This country was founded on the concept of free religion - people came here to believe in and practice whatever religion they desired, without fear of persecution or imprisonment. Excuse me if I'm wrong, but forcing churches to participate in ordinances that contradict their core beliefs does not seem like "religious freedom" at all. Not to mention the fact that schools should not be the ones telling my children what is "morally right" and "normal" in regard to marriage.

To me, marriage is more than just a loving relationship between two people..it is not just a "status" or "title." Marriage is about the gift of life - the birthright - that results from the physical union between a man and a woman. Same-sex couples cannot provide what traditional couples can - they cannot procreate. How can a union that lacks the fundamental concept of procreation be considered the same thing as a union that can? It cannot, and should not, be considered the same. Marriage is about life, or rather, the ability to create life. The importance of that simple fact should not be forgotten or undermined, which is exactly what will happen if these propositions fail.

When election day rolls around on November 4 2008, I will be at the polls and I will VOTE YES on PROP 102. I will do this because I want to protect my children, my marriage, my religion, and my freedom to choose.

What will you do?

P.S. Doug sent me this video earlier today...it really hit home.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Out Of the Mouths of Babes...

I have often said that I have learned more from AK & Roo than I have taught them. On a daily basis, they demonstrate how to be more patient, kind, and loving. There have been many times where the girls have shown examples of faith, love, and understanding well beyond their years. Here are just a few examples of why I love my daughters so incredibly much:

Example #1: A few Saturdays ago, the girls woke up and found a pile of change that had been left for them on the bookshelf. They were so excited when they found it, they tried to pick up as much as they could fit into their tiny hands. Doug had to work early that day at the dealership, so he was up and getting ready for work. AK ran over to Doug and exclaimed "Papa, I have monies! You no have to go to work. Look papa...monies. Here you go papa...no have to go to work now!!" She then handed Doug all the money she had in her hands, gave him a big kiss on the cheek, and ran off to play.

I am grateful for AK's example of selflessness, love, and generosity. Needless to say, Doug had a really hard time leaving for work that morning.

Example #2: AK and Roo have recently discovered the wonderful world of princesses. Their current favorite would have to be Cinderella. As the girls and I were driving in the car one day, Roo suddenly got very serious and started the following conversation:

Roo: "Mama, I have to find my prince."
Me: "Oh really? You need to find a prince?"
Roo: "Yeah - I have to find my prince. Then I go to the temple...mama and papa's temple! I have to go to the temple with my prince."
Me: "That's right Roo. When you are older, if you are a good girl and obey mama and papa, then you can go to the temple."
Roo: "Just like you and papa, mama!"
Me: "That's right Roo; just like me and papa."
Roo: "But mama, I have to find my prince! Where did he go, mama? Where is he?"
Me: "I don't know Roo. I'm sure you will find him someday."
Roo: "Yeah... (turns to look out window)I find my prince someday, mama."

As a mother, I hope Roo never lets go of her expectation to find a "prince" some day; someone who will respect her, honor her, love her, and treat her like the royal daughter of God she is. I am sure she will come across her fair share of toads, but hopefully she will have the courage and strong will to hold out for her "Prince Charming."

Example#3: Today we decided to go to Goodwill and Savers to see what they had in the way of ballerina costumes for the girls (they love playing dress up, and I figure Halloween will be a good time to get a few different costumes for cheap). As we walked into Goodwill and toward a rack of costumes at the front of the store, we happened to pass an elderly gentleman who was sitting in a chair by himself. When I got to the rack, I looked back at the girls and wouldn't you know - there they were, sitting with the elderly gentleman just talking up a storm. AK had sat Cheetah on his lap and she was leaning on one leg showing him her beloved pal; Roo had wrapped her arm through his and was chatting to him about who knows what.

The man was just smiling and nodding his head, looking back and forth between the two girls. Embarrassed by the girls' total invasion of the man's personal space, I quickly walked over to the gentleman and apologized. He looked up at me, grinning from ear to ear and said "My dear, you have nothing to apologize for. Please don't be embarrassed. My grandchildren have children now, and I haven't been treated this kindly for years. Thank you, my dear. You have two lovely children." As we left the store 10 minutes later, we happened to pass the same gentleman who was now walking the aisles with his wife. Roo yelled out "Bye-bye Paga (her word for grandpa)!" AK followed in with "See you later!" The man responded with a large smile and a cheerful wave to the girls "Good-bye girls. You take care now!"

After we left the store, I tried talking to the girls about "personal space" and how they can't just walk up to someone and start touching them and hanging on them. AK said to me, "But mama, Paga was sad." Roo then chimed in, "Yeah, mama...Paga was sad. We helped him to feel better! Paga is our friend now, mama!" I was immediately humbled that the girls were compassionate enough to take a few minutes and try to brighten up someone's day.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Team Hoopes

For anyone local who has decided to participate in the Phoenix Walk on the Wild Side event, we've formed a team that we would love to have you join! Click here to register under Team Hoopes.

Also, I just want to say a special thank you to everyone who has already been so kind and generous with donations and for expressing your support and encouragement.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Girls Room

Some of you have asked for pictures of our new apartment, but I haven't posted them yet because I have been working hard at making this place feel like "home." Anyway, to appease the curious few, I am posting pictures of the girls room - which is the first one to be fully decorated.
AK's wall
Roo's wall

The play area
Cute little boxes (they sit on the little shelf above the play kitchen) - they were clearanced at Home Goods for about $5 each
These wall stickers were another bargain find, because I got them from the Dollar Store. The sheets are actually double-sided, so I got a ton of stickers for a great price...and, they're removable/reusable, so I can always take them with us when we move again.
These tutus were gifts for the girls from my sister Cynth...totally adorable, I know. When the girls aren't wearing them, they double as wall decor!
Frogger#2 - the humidifier; this is a must have for us, especially since AZ is so darn dry.
These are actually twin comforter sets I bought when we lived back in Oceanside. I loved the colors and the pattern, and I grabbed them when they went on clearance - total score for something the girls will have for a long time!

Busy Bodies....

As most of you know, AK and Roo are pretty active girls. They love being outdoors and doing things and exploring. So, here are some pictures from earlier today while they were playing "in the backyard" (AKA our apartment patio).
Roo riding her bike (a Christmas present from last year that is still too big - her short little legs can't reach the pedals), and the girls popping out of the playhouse. Seriously, this is what they do all day - they love climbing in and out of the windows and popping out to say hello.
AK going the wrong way down the slide

Roo understanding the importance of staying hydrated
Notice the Princess shoes - a must have for these two, but don't let the sparkly heels fool you - these girls will hunt bugs and dig up dirt as well as any little boy their age.

What is the best way to end an afternoon of playing on the patio? With Otter Pops of course!! For being such small girls, they sure can down their popsicles. And check it out, even I got in on the OP action!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Birthday Wish

Even though my birthday is not for another 2 months, I decided today what I want - I am going to participate in the 21st Annual Phoenix Walk on the Wild Side 5-mile run. All the proceeds go to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, which is a wonderful organization dedicated to researching, treating, and educating people about MS. I have seen first hand the devastating effects this disease can have on people, but I have also been fortunate to see inspiring examples of strength, courage, and optimism from individuals who live with this disease.

The run will take place on Thursday November 8, 2008 (that's my birthday!) from 8:00 - 10:00 am. The course will go through the Phoenix Zoo and Desert Botanical Garden. For anyone who lives in the area and may be interested in joining in, feel free to contact me with questions or you can click here for information on the event.

There is no registration fee for the event, but each participant is asked to raise funds for the event. If you would like to support my fundraising efforts and make a tax-deductible donation, please visit my personal page by clicking here. Any amount, big or small, helps make a difference in the lives of people with MS and would be greatly appreciated by me. No worries if you aren't able to make a donation - moral support and encouragement would be just as appreciated - especially since I haven't participated in a running event for YEARS.

I have been saying for quite a while that I want to get back into running; now that I have committed myself to participating in this run and helping this cause, I should have more than enough motivation to get up out of bed and get my feet moving. I doubt I will be setting any course records this year, especially since I have determined to do this while pushing the double-wide stroller, but it's not the pace that is important, it's the cause that matters.

Needless to say, I am really excited about doing this run - who knows, maybe even Doug will get the urge to Walk on the Wild Side and join in the fun!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

3's Tag

Instead of "freeze tag" this is "3's tag"....get it? haha...cheesy, I know. Anyway, I saw this on a friend's blog and thought it could be fun for all the members of our little family to participate. I'm not going to tag anyone - feel free to do it if you like; no worries if you decide to pass.

DOUG's 3 Joys:
3 Obsessions:
-Looking online at cars
-checking in on his MMA web sites
-Propel water and Jiu Jitsu
3 Surprising Facts:
- Doug works very hard and puts in very long days - he usually arrives to work between 5:00-5:15 am and finishes up about 5:00pm; he then he has to be at the dealership 2 weeknights and 2 weekend days, he has class on Tuesday nights until 10, and he goes to jiu jitsu any other night he can.
- Doug has more clothes and owns more pairs of shoes than Becky...pretty unusual for a guy.
-"I like leotards" (Doug thought it would be funny to put that down....who knows how that mind of his works)

BECKY's 3 Joys:
-My family
-My friends
-Oceanside, CA
-blogging (I don't think I am obsessed, but Doug has mentioned it in the past)
-Otter Pops
3 Surprising Facts:
-I don't really care for chocolate - unless it's in the form of a brownie, chocolate chip cookie, or Thrifty Chocolate Malted Crunch Ice Cream.
-I am scared of heights, but I have no problem swimming 50 feet under water....go figure
-I do not like to eat lobster, crab, shrimp, mussels, clams, etc.; if I eat fish, it must be cooked - no sushi for this gal!

AIDEN's 3 Joys:
-Sippy cup
3 [current] Obsessions:
-Sandals only; no shoes or Crocs
-Princesses (Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty are her current favorites) and Mickey Mouse
3 Surprising Facts:
- We don't know whether Aiden is a lefty or a righty - she uses both hands while coloring, and switches back and forth between hands while eating.
-She loves getting her ears Q-tipped
-Aiden is practically fearless in the water...except for when it comes to jumping in from the edge; she has to be holding on to someone's hands before she'll leap

REILLY's 3 Joys:
-Going to Nursery
-Playing Dress up
3 [current] Obsessions:
3 Surprising Facts:
-She will only drink milk from a spoon or if it's mixed with Strawberry Nesquick
-She loves bugs, cars, and playing in the dirt
-On any given night, Reilly will demand her striped blankie, teddy, a sippy cup with cold water, her froggies, her spider, her princess slippers...and who know what else before she will settle down for bed.

A New Hobby

Okay, so I just wanted to take a quick moment and let you all know why the look of our blog page has been changing so much lately. I have recently delved into the wonderful world of digital scrapbooking...and, I have to say....I absolutely love it. I am sort of teaching myself as I go, and there is still a lot I have to learn, but it has been a complete blast!!

There are a ton of websites available, and the best thing is most of them are completely free!! You can download a ton of kits and papers and embellishments, and if you change your mind later or decide not to use something, you haven't lost any money!! Of course, there are kits and things you can pay for, but even the prices on those are extremely reasonable. The most expensive thing would probably be the photo software, but to start off you can download free trial versions of both Photoshop and Corel Paint Shop....free downloads means no initial start up fees and no risk! Another total benefit is the storage factor - with digital scrapbooking, everything is stored online (via photobucket, shutterfly, snapfish, artscow, etc.) or in your computer - so you don't have to worry about where you are going to keep your half-finished projects. AND, as a mother of two busy little girls, I can easily sit down and spend 5 or 10 minutes on a page without worrying about toddler hands trying to get in on the action, and the clean up factor is basically a thing of the past! If I need to stop, I just click "save," close the programs, and I'm done. It's wonderful - absolutely WONDERFUL!!

For anyone who has thought about it and wondered "just what is digital scrapbooking all about?" I have added some side links to our web page that have been extremely helpful. If you have a free moment or two, take a look at some of the web pages...but don't be surprised if you get hooked and decide to take on a new hobby!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Cover Girls...

Doug had a rough day at work yesterday, so in an attempt to cheer him up, the girls and I decided to hold an impromptu photo shoot to get some pictures together to e-mail him. As you can see from the following series of photos, it's pretty hard to get 2 almost-three-year-olds to cooperate and pose together for the same picture. We had a lot of fun doing this, and I figured you all might enjoy seeing our little photo shoot!

P.S. AK is in the white shirt, and Roo is wearing the brown w/strawberries shirt. The girls kept trying to look at themselves in their mirrored closet doors as I was trying to get them to sit with their arms wrapped around each other. Roo started making silly faces, then she got distracted by her octopus key chain...things just got more and more silly from that point on. The big smiles and silly faces in the last two photos are the results of getting zerbered (spelling?) by their mama.