Yes, STILL. Five days away from THE MOST IMPORTANT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION OF YOUR LIFETIME! I remain undecided between Mitt Romney and President Obama. And I finally realized why.
I am a Christian, and I believe in love, compassion and helping others, especially "the least of these"--those on the fringes/at the bottom of society. People who cannot, or don't know how to, help themselves. Heck, look at my students. I've been at SCORE for 9 years, and my students are the very definition. I believe that love was and is Jesus' main lesson for us.
I am also a very independent person, a historian and a student of government. I strongly believe in personal responsibility, self-sufficience and hard work. I believe that states should maintain much power, and that our current federal government is much too large and wasteful. The necessary and proper clause has been used to strip the states of almost all of their power over the last hundred years, and I don't think that's what the Founders intended. Federalism means that the states have to have power, too! And not just in name only. Overly large federal governments always manage to collapse on themselves, and that does not bode well for us.
You could probably call me a "compassionate conservative." Whatever happened to this idea, anyway?
These are the major facets of who I am, and they are contradictory.
President Obama is much more compassionate toward people who are hurting--the unemployed, the ill--and even though I definitely don't agree with everything he's done, I can see compassion at work in some of what he's done the last four years.
However, it seems that Obama's compassion comes with a blank check for any kind of sinful behavior. I don't believe that love means allowing everyone to do anything they want. That's called anarchy, people! Jesus loved everyone unconditionally, but He did not excuse sin. Every good parent knows that the unconditional love we feel for our children does not mean that we allow them to do anything they want: they crave boundaries, even though they may not know it, and when we set boundaries, we show love.
Mitt Romney is much more independent, a believer in small government and personal responsibility. Living within your means is an extremely important part of maintaining independence, and I think Romney can get the federal government under control (even though I don't agree with all of his proposals).
However, Romney's independence comes at the cost of compassion. Sure, he can vow to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something else--but will the "replace" part ever happen? What about the people who can now get insurance and healthcare as a direct result of that law? I don't totally support the law--I disagree with the Supreme Court about the federal government's right to require citizens to purchase health insurance--but my compassionate side can certainly see the benefits of the most popular parts of the law, and putting something in place to replace it could take years, and very likely cost lives.
Is Romney compassionate? I believe he is, even though I'm not a fan of Mormonism, and we rarely hear about his softer side. But there have been some mentions of it, and I believe he sees direct assistance as I do: that it is a responsibility of individuals, churches, charities, even local and state governments--but not of the federal government.
I won't even get into the details of foreign policy, but in general, I've been surprised by many of President Obama's moves in this arena, and generally supportive of his choices. Frankly, a Mitt Romney presidency scares me in regard to foreign policy. He seems too belligerent, and I fear where that could lead us.
I DESPISE both sides' fearmongering. Conservatives, President Obama is NOT the anti-Christ. Deal with it. Liberals, Mitt Romney does NOT hate women and anyone not worth $250 million. Get over it.
Never in my life have I voted for a Democratic presidential candidate. Of course, this is only my 4th presidential election, but still. The fact that I am even considering voting for Obama now is a pretty big deal.
For a while, I was leaning toward Obama pretty hard. In the last week or so, I've shifted more toward Romney.
But I remain undecided, and I probably will until they hand me the ballot on Tuesday.
This photo is typical: mouth wide open & smiling. Although the sitting down part is NOT typical!
Jack is extremely healthy and very energetic. He weighs 21 lbs 1 oz (25th percentile) and is 29.75 inches long (50th percentile), so he's not huge, but let me tell you--when I carry him, he FEELS huge!
We celebrated his birthday on the 30th with a family cookout. Grandma Welch, Papa and Grandma Mac and Uncle Zack and Madison were all there. So were friends Beth and Charlie and Great Aunt Donna--and Great-Aunt Judy and Great-Grandma Mac all the way from St. Louis!
We are so blessed to have such wonderful people in our lives! Everyone was so generous and Jack was spoiled with awesome gifts. Thank you!
His teddy bear cake was all homemade and super-yummy! (if I say so myself) It turned out a little crazy, partly because the icing I made was too soft, so I ended up smooshing it on instead of piping it on in stars, and partly because Lincoln put the eyes on, so it's a slightly demented bear. :)
Jack dug right in with his hands and got gloriously messy--he had it everywhere, including his hair. Unfortunately, he also rubbed his eyes, poor guy, and of course started crying because it stung so bad. But he'd had enough cake anyway, and was better after a quick bath.
Lincoln and the guests played a lot of "1 2 3 SHOOT!" with the balloons, a game that Link would NEVER tire of!
Jack is walking everywhere--he just took off one day almost two weeks ago--and is pretty much a walking disaster. His favorite things are opening and closing drawers and cabinets over and over and over and OVER. He also likes the toilet (go figure), the stairs (of course, because they're forbidden) and anything that he's not supposed to have. He LOVES Lincoln and Llama. Lincoln is doing more hitting & pushing than ever before because Jack follows him around and gets in his stuff. Time to adjust to a new reality, Link!
Jack says many words, including but not only, dada, mama, cat, more, wa wa, book, tree, truck ("tuck"), and dino. He doesn't repeat them as often as Lincoln did, so it can be hard to catch his words at times.
Since he turned one, Jack has suddenly become a picky eater. All he wants are carbs and meat! It's difficult to get him to eat anything else--unless it's super-sweet cake, treats, etc. Guess he had a taste of the good life at his party and is having a hard time going back. :)
He still has just 6 teeth, and the top 4 are still only halfway through, with a big gap between the front two, giving him a lopsided look. According to Dr. Griesemer, this is normal and temporary. Let's hope so!
We love our baby boy so much--although I can't call him that much longer!! Happy first birthday, Jackson!
Yes, that's right, Lincoln is FINALLY (mostly) potty trained!!!!!
Can you believe it??
I still can't--seems like a dream. He's not 100% potty trained, in that he still wears diapers for naptime & at nighttime, and it's almost always me telling him it's time to pee pee every 1.5 hours or so--he doesn't ever consistently say he has to go. But he is in big boy underpants (Star Wars Clone Wars; his choice. Be proud, Uncle Z!) every day and rarely has an accident. YES!!!
This has been for a week and a half, after I told him on June 2nd, "no more diapers" and had him try to pee every 30-45 minutes. He got used to it (after a few accidents), and the time between peeing just stretched out longer and longer, until we're where we are now.
And he has been for a while, but since I rarely turn my computer on when school is out, this post is several weeks late. Oops
As of his 11 month birthday on May 28th, Jack weighs 20 pounds! Never did remember to measure him (oops), but he seems about normal length.
He is still a super-happy, super-smiley baby, but he is starting to cry/have tantrums when he doesn't get exactly what he wants. It's actually pretty funny sometimes; he'll throw himself face-first on the ground and cry. But it won't be funny if he keeps it up!
On his birthday, he took his first trip to Roaring River to celebrate his Great-Grandma Marbut's 80th birthday:
And here he is in his birthday shirt as I was trying to get a decent photo for his birthday invitations:
At 11 months, he had 5 teeth, 3 on top and 2 on bottom, although the 3 on top are taking their sweet time coming all the way in!
Jack says Dada, Mama, Daddy, Hi, Bye, Uh oh (he screeches it, it's hysterical), Cat and Down--he doesn't say all of these consistently (just the first three), but has said them at one point in time. I swear the day after he turned 11 months, he said "uh oh Mama"!!
He is starting to get VERY squirrely during diaper changes and tries to roll over/throw himself off the changing table/sit up--and it is really irritating! He also grinds his teeth (now that he has upper teeth), and it's a bad, bad sound.
And let me tell you, when he and Lincoln get older, both George and I will have to get second jobs just to pay for groceries. Jack is an eating machine! He would eat as much as I do at meals if I'd let him--and he has before. I'm trying to slow him down a bit because he's got QUITE the belly.
Jack is also finally drinking from a straw cup--yay!--and can stack one block on another. He LOVES people, especially Lincoln, and Llama, but we have to keep him away from Llama so he doesn't rip the cat's ears/tail off.
Unfortunately, he tends to wake up between 6 and 6:30 AM still, although he sometimes will sleep until 7. The day after Roaring River, he slept until 7:30! Apparently the key is lots of outside time to totally exhaust him. :) He is still nursing well, but I'll start weaning him a bit after he hits 1.
He bites/chews on everything all the time and is clearly trying to get more teeth. Good times.
More to come when he hits one in a couple of weeks!
He had a great time hanging out in Papa's truck for the first time on his 10-month birthday.
Isn't he cute in his 2-piece firetruck jammies?
I haven't weighed or measured him since April 28th, but he LOVES to eat and is quite the big boy! His legs are longer than Lincoln's were at this age, for sure.
Here are Daddy, Lincoln and Jack hanging out:
And here is Jack sitting in the bin of cars and trucks!
Jack and Lincoln both love to play with their kitchen stuff (aka old ketchup, honey, sour cream, etc., containers that I washed), and one day decided to play in the cabinet that houses the kitchen stuff:
And then Jack had to figure out how to get out of the cabinet:
EATING! The boy is a human trash compactor!
Lincoln. It makes my heart melt to watch them play together and see the look of adoration on Jack's face. Of course, that look quickly changes to wailing whenever Link smacks him on the head or pushes him over--but those are the knocks!
...on his own and being read to.
He loves to turn the pages (very rapidly), smack at and talk to the pictures.
Taking sips of water from a cup that I hold for him. Actually, they're more like gulps and he chokes half the time, but when he sees the cup, Jack freaks out!
Opening and closing doors over and over and over
(although this is quite dangerous, as he smashes his fingers quite frequently)
Crawling everywhere SUPER FAST!
Climbing stairs. He can climb from bottom to top all by himself!
Practicing walking with his new "lawn mower" (as Lincoln calls it):
Initiating peek-a-boo with the burp cloth while we change his diaper.
CUTEST. THING. I'VE. EVER. SEEN!
He pulls it up over his head, waits until I ask where he is, then yanks it down and laughs hysterically. It is awesome!
Teething. Jack STILL only has the 2 teeth that cut through when he was 6 months old! His poor gums are so swollen, and I know he's just miserable, even though he's always smiley and happy. He doesn't let his lack of teeth stop him from eating anything and everything, though!
Napping longer than 30 minutes to an hour. This varies by day, but most days he still only sleeps 40 minutes for one or both naps, and then is exhausted by bedtime. Sometimes he takes longer naps, but there's just no predicting it. Urgh!
Having his face and hands wiped off or his nose picked. He hates, hates, HATES it!
Really, that's it. Jack may be an even smilier and happier baby than Lincoln was--which I didn't think was possible!
...for myself, even though it's not really because of me.
I now weigh the same as or just less than I did in college!! I'm in shock. I'm also fitting in clothes that I've kept for years thinking that someday I would fit into them again, although never actually expecting to. And now I'm so glad they're still in my closet! (especially since my wardrobe is down to almost nothingness, which is a whole other post)
I worked my butt off after Jack was born to lose enough weight that I wouldn't have to buy a bunch of new clothes to go back to work, since we couldn't afford it--and I did. But since then, the weight has just continued to come off and it's so freakin' awesome.
Not that I'm a stick, by any means. I'm still plenty mommy-ish, complete with wrinkles, sags and bulges where there didn't used to be any (tmi?), but overall, I'm thrilled. It feels good to be healthy and (somewhat) strong and be able to keep up with both boys.
Again, I attribute this mostly to God, because without good genes and blessings from Him (what else could it be?), I wouldn't have lost any of it!
Of course, all of this might end if I don't stop treating myself to ice cream after the boys are in bed...but for now, I'm going to enjoy it. And keep working out!
As you can see, his favorite thing to do is pull up to standing on anything and anyone
(especially the train table, as here):
He makes some REALLY funny faces!
And he is quite agile:
His 9-month checkup was Friday, and he is perfectly healthy and happy! He is, can you believe it, even sleeping through the night again! SUCCESS! (now I've jinxed it and he'll wake up a bunch tonight...sigh) He's even sleeping at night in spite of teething so hard he can't hardly stand it.
Naps are a different story. He's starting fighting/refusing to take a morning nap, which is really, really unusual for him. However, yesterday after no morning nap, he took a t 2-hour afternoon nap! It was great.
Jack is such a happy baby and is always smiley:
9-month stats & loves:
-18.5 inches long
-19 pounds, 4 ounces (same as Lincoln at this age!)
-Lincoln. The complete adoration in Jack's eyes when he watches Link run around or when Link plays with him is heart-melting.
-Eating. I've had Jack on table food for a while, and the kid cannot ever get enough! He is a human trash compactor!
-Crawling really fast!
-Pulling to standing at any chance
-Being outside. There's so much to see.
-Chewing on his fingers/fist/Mommy's toe/toys/ANYTHING.
-Toys that are meant for older kids--we've got to move some of them (magnetic refrigerator letters, your time is coming)
-Music. Bust a move!
-Books. He loves to turn pages (very rapidly) and soon as one is done, he's looking for the next.
-The activity table. We finally got it out after deciding the Exersaucer has served its time. Complete love.
-Clapping. It's so cute!
-Crawling after Mommy in the kitchen, grabbing my legs and laughing hysterically.
-Teething. Come ON, teeth! Break through! Jack STILL only has 2 teeth!
-Having his face or hands washed/wiped. It's kind of funny how much he freaks out.
-Having anything taken away from him.
-Not being fed fast enough! Jack bashes both hands on the high chair tray and/or claps a lot when he's ready for the next bite & it's not in his mouth.