Rawlins Family

Rawlins Family

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Whole Fam Damily

Chase was out of town this past week and I've had a lot of time to think about how much I appreciate family. Specifically my family-in-law...

Coming into our marriage I had some pretty high expectations. If you haven't met my parents, Pat and Sherry, well let's just say you're missing out. I'm one of those lucky people who not only love their parents, I like my parents. A lot. Don't get me wrong - they're not perfect people (who is?). But I respect them, I enjoy spending time with them and I actually think they're pretty dang funny. ("Dad's funeral will be a grave affair," said the woman in the pink pajamas...)

Additionally, I have some pretty rockin' siblings and those siblings have gone on to marry equally (if not superior) spouses. It only takes one Christmas Eve party at the Kilgore house to get hooked on my family. They're hilarious, fun and we love each other.

So the cumulative effect of spending time with MY family had the natural result of creating a high standard for my family-by-marriage family.

And they don't disappoint.

I have come to realize that my in-laws, Tori and Tony, are some of the sweetest people God ever put on the earth. And I mean that. They are generous with their time and talents. They loved me since they found out about me while shopping the cereal aisle of their local Wal Mart. When we lived far away they visited us frequently. After moving closer they respect us enough to call before coming. They love our kids as though they were their own. They provide free babysitting more than they probably should or would like to. Their house often ends up being the gathering place on weekends - and though it gets crowded and mom's house gets destroyed, they welcome us with smiles and hugs. They have served as both Blockbuster and grocery store on occasion. They have run countless errands for me when I'm stranded at home with sick kids. The list goes on and on. But what I'm MOST thankful for is the way they raised my sweet, sweet husband. He is a strong provider and a caring father. He is the FIRST and ONLY man to consistently open my door for me. He is the best companion I could ever ask for. And I'm no dummy. I know he learned it somewhere. So THANKS TBoss and TBull. And may I say, Job Well Done.

And though this is starting to resemble an Oscars acceptance speech I have to also add that I married into some great siblings as well. Seven years ago it was just Brian, Eric and Garrett. Brian was fresh from his mission, Eric was making girls swoon in high school and Garrett was a floppy-haired imp. Now Brian and Eric are married to girls I ADORE and LOVE spending time with - easily some of my best friends on the planet. And Garrett is off on a mission - setting an example for my boys that I will forever be grateful for. Brian, Jen, Eric, Kathleen, Garrett. I love you. Tons! Thanks for being so freakin' radical. And thanks for having such radical kids for my kids to play with.

And the good times don't end there! We're super-extra lucky that we have Chase's grandma and Aunt and Uncle and cousins here, too. We have so much fun with Grandma Cleora, Susan, Kevin and Brandon and Danielle. Summer pool-parties, monthly birthday dinners, and the occasional sleep-over. Cameron, Miles and Sophia are blessed to have cousins who love them and play babysitter during family dinners. Actually, I think that's more a blessing for me than it is for them. When they're around I can actually converse with other adults. It's practically a miracle:)

So there you have it. My in-law Texas family. There are more - the Johnsens and the Rawlins clans are both extensive and full of fun. We love them all.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Try this...

I had a few friends over for dinner a couple weeks ago and decided to make soft tacos. I couldn't decide what to do with my chicken so when I saw this I figured I'd give it a try. It turned out super yummy and I just had to pass it on. The only thing I do differently is use regular onions and I saute them with the chicken in olive oil before adding the rest of the stuff. This recipe is SUPER easy, too. If you have a Kroger nearby you can double the deliciousness and use their homemade tortillas (I do unless I'm making my own). You cannot go wrong! Enjoy!

In other news, another Valentine's day passed without any recognition of it from the Chase Master. I'm beyond caring at this point. His birthday is precisely one week prior and we had a really fun day together. The temple, followed by a trip to Central Market to enjoy the Festival of Chocolate (it's like it was DESIGNED for him/me). While there we also picked up some sushi and ingredients for our dinner (rib-eye and asparagus...this blog is making you so hungry, isn't it?). After that we headed off to the Russian Banya. For those who don't know, Chase spent two years living in and around Yekaterinburg, Russia before we got married. He was doing a service mission for our church. Anyway, in Russia they have these spas called Banyas. It's crazy. Basically it's a sauna that gets up to 240 degrees. You go in, come out cool off, go back in, come out, go back in, come out and jump in the freezing cold plunge pool...and you repeat this all day. Ever since I met Chase he's been telling me about the Banya and how awesome it was and how he can't wait to take me. So when we moved here two years ago I thought it was slightly fortuitous that the only Banya in the area happens to be a mile from our house. But we haven't gone. SO I decided to take him for his birthday! Unfortunately it was a surprise and I wasn't aware that you had to set aside a whole day for it. So by the time we got there we only had a couple hours before we had to be back to the kiddos. So, sadly, we weren't able to do the whole Banya experience. We did, however, get to have a hearty, carb-a-mongous lunch/dinner. It was delicious, but the best part was watching Chase interact with the Russian staff and watching him take down that meal like it was his last... I patted myself on the back for a job well done:)

Anyway, I didn't mean to even blog about that, but there you go. Go try the lime chicken! Yum!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

It's a good day...

Hello good people of North America. If you could all direction your attention to the following pictures.

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Yes, if you're wondering that's a PONYTAIL on Sophie's head. A PONYTAIL. And a side pony at that! Ha! I've only been dreaming of this day for, oh let's see, 29 YEARS!

And because I can't help myself you should probably look at these, too...

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Who says thumb-sucking isn't cute?!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

You say you want a revolution?

Aaah yes. It's been almost a week since my last politically-themed blog post. But take a breath, everyone, because this one isn't part of my usual "Rack-a-Bama is the man" rant. No, today I'm calling for world peace.

One piece of flair at a time.

Okay, so it all started with the UMC (Ugly Mom's Club, if you're not in-the-know) prez, Deb. She's somewhat of a genius. Not, like, idiot-savant genius. Just the normal, "I wear green and red together even if it's not the holidays" kind of genius.

So anyhoo, after the election in a fit of inspired passion Deb decided she was going to unite the world. It's been a long couple of years leading up to the election. Everywhere you look people were polarizing, gravitating to one side or the other. In a lot of the discussion I think we all started to realize that we were mostly saying the SAME THING. Whether we declared ourselves red or blue, liberal or conservative, most people want us to be safe, help those in need, and find a way out of the crisis in which we find ourselves. But the problem with labels is that they're so DIVISIVE. Once you sit down to dinner with someone and they ask you if you're a righty or a lefty the middle ground seems to be lost.

So Deb, in her geniusness (totally a word) decided to create a NEW label. And this is one you're all going to want in on.

The Purple Donkephant.





The purple donkephant is neither a red elephant or a blue donkey. The purple donkephant is both. Here are just a few attributes of the PD:

1) Has slightly reddish feet, to keep it firmly on the ground;
2) Has slightly blueish ears, to listen with an open mind to ideas that bring change; and
3) Has a smack-in-the-middle purple heart, because it wants desperately to find common ground to work our way out of this mess. You can't see it; you'll just have to trust me on that one.

And there's more. So much more. The Purple Donkephant is going to sweep the nation. But we need your help. If you are sick of partisan politics as usual, if you're sick of pitting one side against the other, if you finally want to find a way to take the best both sides have to offer then we need you! Fo shizz!

So here's your mission, should you choose to accept it.

Copy the above statement (starting at "The Purple Donkephant") and paste it into your next blog post. Next, include a link to the original PD homepage. You can find it here. Lastly, go to facebook (if you're a facebooker - which, duh, you should be...what is this? 1997?) and choose the Stephen Colbert inspired flair (it says, "I'm a Purple Donkephant and So Can You and has a circle of stars). Then, send that flair to everyone you know.

Trust me, once this idea takes off you're going to be glad you got in on the bottom floor.

Down with red and blue! Up with Purple Donkephants.

Let's start a revolution, baby!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Hamlet's not the only one with a question.

Except my question goes a bit like this:

"To buy, or not to buy..."



Friday, February 06, 2009

(almost) Weekend Update

I haven't blogged about my adorable offspring in awhile. Since I know for a fact my parents only check this blog to ensure the safety and well-being of their grandchildren it's probably time for me to remedy the situation.

Cameron is back in preschool and is as hard core as ever. He is obviously going to follow in his mama's punk rock musical foot steps. He walks around the house going, "A 1, a 1, a 1, 2, 3..." and then humming the tune to Mary Had a Little Lamb. That kid has some major chops. In addition to humming Cameron spends his free time (and he has A LOT of free time) building forts and playing "spaceship." By the end of the day everyday my house usually resembles some sort of refugee camp with blankets hung over every possible surface that could possibly be used to create a tent/fort.


Miles is loving nursery and play dates and everything in between. He seems to miss Daddy the most during busy season, but finds ways to distract himself. He is a complete mimic when it comes to Cameron. It's amazing Cameron can even handle it. If someone followed me around all day repeating every word I said I think I would freak out. Cameron doesn't even seem to notice it. Miles is going to be starting preschool at the very end of March and while I'm excited for him to have his own experience I'm less excited than I thought I'd be. He keeps me busy and he keeps it lively around here!


Sophie is awesome. She's so set on keeping up with the boys that she's practically running everywhere. She's developed a pretty thick skin and can take a lot of the abuse the boys naturally dish out. They both adore her but they don't make any effort to coddle her. She handles it like a pro! At heart, though, she's still a mama's girl. And that's fine with me. 12 years from now she's going to hate me so I'm enjoying it while I can.


Chase is muscling his way through busy season. So far it's going more smoothly than any previous season. But we're only a few weeks in so that's not saying much. But he has more responsibilities this year and seems to feel more comfortable being a senior now that he has some time under his belt. This is his 4th busy season! And, of course, on top of busy season he keeps busy with his calling, home teaching and the kiddos. He leaves the house at 6 AM every morning - including a lot of Saturdays - so that he can get home as early as possible. A lot of nights he isn't home before the kids go to bed, but he makes sure not to do it two nights in a row. So he at least sees the kids every other day - and they're handling it all very, very well. AND, tomorrow is Chase's birthday! I've got a fun day planned for him - after he gets back from a quick trip to the office:)

As for me, I've finally weaned Sophie and feel like that was the last step to putting Humpty Dumpty together again. I've been pregnant or nursing non-stop since June '05 and it's just amazing how depleted I was starting to feel! Constantly having babies in the house, being up all day and all night... I would never, ever change it. But I definitely felt like I was losing myself a bit. So I'm trying to make an effort to take it all back and get myself back to where I'm comfortable, weight-wise, health-wise. It means getting up at 4:45 so I can hit the gym before Chase leaves, but it's been worth it. I feel totally dedicated for the first time in a long time. Before I always felt like I would work out as long as my schedule allowed it - because my kids truly dictated my schedule. But now I have a little more control over it and it feels good. I want them to see that mommy is happy and I want to set a healthy example for them. Oh and I want to look like Elle McPherson in my bathing suit this summer. Is that too much to ask?

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Propaganda (or, the blog that is basically an exercise in futility)

I will preface this by saying that I thought long and hard over posting this. I finally decided that I feel just as strongly about this as the people who send stuff to me feel about their videos. And it's my blog, afterall...

Now that the election is over and all is said and done I didn't really expect to be writing a post dedicated to this particular topic. But here I am.

And, to be clear, this is NOT aimed at one person in particular. During the campaign season I was on the receiving end of loads of emails from different people. The senders were different - hey, one of them was my Mary Kay lady! - but the messages were all the same. Links to various youtube videos about how Obama loves to kill babies. I would watch politely for about a minute until it became clear that what I was viewing was propaganda. And I am just so sick to death of it.

The definition of propaganda, as defined by merriam-webster.com is: the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person.

Propaganda, whether disseminated with good or ill intent, is hurtful to the national political debate. It just is. It is one-sided, usually full of half-truths and spin and, worse, inflammatory as all get out. My reaction to receiving said videos is always to feel insulted. The sender is basically saying that either a.) I'm too stupid to have fully researched my candidate or b.) If I have done my research and STILL vote for Obama I must love killing babies, too. Neither is a compliment.

When engaging in a political discussion I like to hear both sides equally and then make an informed decision. If I want to know about Obama I'm NOT going to go to voteforbarack.com. If I want to know about McCain you won't find me checking out mccainisarockstar.org. I try to find neutral information in a large variety of sources. Liberal media, conservative media. I certainly look at voting records, but I don't go just by that either. To quote from a comment I made in response to my October 2 post, "Voting records get SO MUCH PRESS during election time, and rightly so. It's one of the most concrete ways for us to see someone's track record of actually supporting/being against any one particular policy. But the thing that [upsets me] is that people have a very fallacious thinking about what a vote MEANS. It is simply wrong and incorrect to infer that by voting AGAINST something that the person EMBRACES and UPHOLDS the opposite. When a bill comes to the floor it is so full of provisions and line-items. In order to pass it in good conscience the politician needs to agree with the ENTIRE bill and not just pieces of it. If there is anything in the bill that would be seen as a loophole or fatal flaw (overturn-able by the supreme court) the politician will often vote against that bill simply because it doesn't meet the standard it should. It's all about nuance and details. They could vote against a bill even though they agree with the concept overall." So I don't get myself too worked up over voting records.

So what's my big problem with propaganda? It's just people trying to do their best to support the cause they believe in, right?

I disagree.

Propaganda is SO STIFLING! It does absolutely nothing to encourage a free exchange of ideas and fills people with incorrect assumptions. And the use of inflammatory language and IMAGES is so abhorrent to myself - and I'm sure others - that I have to immediately walk away from it. Additionally, using terms like "KILLING BABIES" is so emotionally charged that you're practically setting everyone else up for failure if they don't rise to your standard. It's all black and white in the mind of a propagandist. You're either with us or against us.

And let's not forget that these videos often lack a thing called CONTEXT. Almost every one I've seen is just a collection of bits and pieces. A blurb here and a blurb there all with a backdrop of crying babies or, worse, aborted fetuses.

I, for one, will have NO PART IN IT. NONE. Just like I would never try to campaign for Obama by showing gruesome footage of Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo Bay detainees, I refuse to accept abortion propaganda as  part of my personal political debate.

The last thing I want to say is this: when it comes down to it we probably all agree on abortion. I doubt that the majority of us wants it to be 100% eradicated, thus forcing people who truly deserve a safe procedure into the street and into the hands of whomever they can find to do it. Likewise, I'm sure that there are few, if any, who truly believe that abortion is great and killing babies is a good idea. I think the large majority of us are ON THE SAME SIDE of this issue. We think there should be solid legislation concerning when/where/how abortion can take place. There need to be limits on it, so that it doesn't become a casual form of birth control.

So, rather than playing into the hands of propagandists and becoming pawns in their game, I would challenge everyone who reads this blog to stay away from propaganda. And if you receive it, don't proliferate it's use! Don't put it in an email and mass mail everyone you know.

And, for the love of Pete, don't send it to me.