August 12th

I am so happy that the 12th of August fell on our one vacation of the year.  At least it gives a bit of variety to my usual 12 pictures!

1. Good morning Sun Valley!  Every year we take a week-long vacation with the Youkstetter family.  It's very relaxing and easy-going.  Millie's cousins were thrilled to play with and hold her.

2. I am so thrilled that Millie has a cousin her age.  I loved watching them play together on the mat.  And by play I mean "grab each other's faces"

3. Every now and then I take lots of pictures of Millie when she is so animated in the mornings.  Every now and then I get a gem.  Maybe my favorite picture of her yet.  What a face!

4. Little Oscar is so creative.  It was fun to see him play in the mornings.  It's also fun to see Kathryne and Jeremy try their best to encourage and help him with his imagination.  One morning Jeremy was looking everywhere for a paper plate because Oscar asked him to make him a Captain America shield.  Love him.

5. Drex is the family clown.  He is so hilarious.  Millie was down in our room sleeping and he ran over to the monitor to say "WAKE UP MILLIE!" into it. Ha!

6. After nap it was time for a little fun in the sun. Millie looking quite adorable in her suit!

7. Harvey looking quite dashing in his hat!

8. Momma enjoying 10 minutes of quiet and soaking in some vitamin D.

9. Nathan is the oldest nephew in the family.  And one of my favorite people in the world.  I had to get a picture of his t-shirt. Makes me proud.

10.  We forgot to bring any bibs for Millie (our packing list was unbelievable!) so when we fed her we had to strip her down.  She always had lots of attention from her aunts.

11.  Time spent outside was significantly less than last year - too much smoke from all of the wildfires.  However we did get a few walks in.  Millie doesn't look too thrilled about it.

12. Bedtime stories with Daddy.

It was a great family vacation!

I'm going to be crazy and add a 13th picture - that wasn't even taken that day.  What!?

We Are Selfish

Warning: This is going to be a rant.  Probably my biggest rant on my blog to date.  And it will be liberal. And I will offend.  But it's my blog - and a girl is going to say what she wants on her blog.  Consider yourself warned.

The last few weeks have really made me take a step back and look at our country. It seems that every day we get horrible news.  Wars, shootings, economies in peril, draught, fires - you get the idea.  Every now and then we get what I would consider some good news and people still manage to turn good things into very bad things.  You want to feel sorry about the state of the world?  Read news story comment boards.  Go ahead.  It'll make you want to punch humanity in the face.  After reading some awful, racist, bigoted comments I have come to the conclusion that we are selfish.  Americans are selfish.  Very very selfish.  

Lets talk about shootings for a minute.  The movie theater shooting was terrible. I can't remember the last time I burst into tears when I heard the news.  It hit really close to home to me. I've been to countless midnight shows, I had friends at a midnight showing of Batman.  This could have happened to me.  Thankfully it didn't.  Lets talk about the shooting that happened yesterday too.  The shooting at the Sikh Temple - horrible! How many of you didn't even hear it on the news?  And if you did hear it - was it even the "top story"?  I bet not.  You didn't hear about it because it wasn't at a Christian church, it was a Sikh Temple.  If you are like me you aren't even sure what the Sikh's believe.  So I did my part and researched a bit today.  Turns out it is a beautiful religion.  A religion that teaches "to respect all other religions and that one should defend the rights of not just one's own religion but the religion and faith of others as a human right. At the end of every Sikh prayer is a supplication for the welfare of all of humanity."  Yet why isn't this on the news?  6 people were killed while worshipping and it's a story that has largely fallen by the wayside.  These horrible tragedy's could start a serious discussion about gun control in our country.  Now before you get all NRA on me - let me say that even those that have guns and love their guns MUST see that guns are a problem.  I understand that these situations are acts of violence from mentally ill people -I get that.  I'm not saying we have to take away all the guns (but damn would I love it if it did happen) but lets at least consider ways to help the problem.  Nope.  Doesn't happen.  Because the NRA is the most powerful lobbying group in Washington and they won't let a damn thing happen.  We are selfish.  "Don't touch my guns!" is more important than, "Lets talk about ways in which I can keep my guns but while coming up with some real solutions to make guns less harmful to our society. Democrats and republicans can not have a civil discussion about guns. Where can we meet in the middle?

Now lets talk about the economy. It's a presidential election year. I know that when the jobs report is released each month that the Republicans are just hoping and praying that the job numbers stay low- that way Obama has less of a chance of being reelected.  I am not saying the Democrats wouldn't be thinking the exact same thing if a Republican happened to be in office.  Who cares about the American people!? I just want my candidate to win!  Even if it means that families and people are struggling.  Whatever happened to doing something for the common good!?  Our country is in a hell of a lot of debt.  You know what I think?  Raise my freaking taxes!  Seth and I make a great living.  Raise our taxes!  I would happily pay more out of my paycheck to help our country get out of this slump. I think anyone that makes a decent living should have their taxes raised. I think the rich SHOULD pay more.  You know why?  Because they can.  Because they have big beautiful homes, steady jobs, several cars, food to last for months, and the ability to go on vacations.  Is it fair?  No, it isn't.  But you have better lives so maybe you can take a hit for the team.  What do you say?  Raise my taxes. Whatever happened to "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."?  Instead all I hear is, "Stay out of my business! I'm not paying money to help pay for lazy people/pay for programs from the dems/republicans!" You know what - eff off.  We all benefit from national defense, clean water, social security, highways, etc. You think taxes are so bad - try taking away all of those great services you rely on.  Then see how much you like taxes.  When did taxes become such a horrible thing?  

Healthcare is next.  Oh boy brace yourselves.  I am so happy that the Affordable Care Act was upheld by the Supreme Court.  So happy.  What a great step.  Before you get your panties in a twist please take a minute and take this quiz to see how much you REALLY know about the act:

Working at Make-A-Wish made me see first hand how screwed up our health care is in this countries.  Countless families lost everything they had because their child got sick.  People that need health insurance the most couldn't get it.  People like my dad who are self-employed and work their asses off can't afford decent plans.  Not only is it hard to afford when self-employed but my sister had cancer 10 years ago and therefore has a preexisting condition so they can't get decent coverage.  People like my brother who need it can't get it.  My brother will continue going to the emergency room when he has issues and not pay his bills.  So guess who is paying for it?  You are.  I am.  

I read the other day that part of the plan provided free preventative services for women - services such as mammograms, screenings for cervical cancer, prenatal care, and other services – is covered with no cost sharing for new health plans. So I think - wow that's fantastic!  How can people possibly complain about this?  Oh lovely Americans we found a way.  "Why are women covered and not men!?" "I'm not going to pay for women to get birth control - now they can sleep around all they want!" 

WHAT?!  Are you freaking kidding me?  How about this - how about we catch breast cancer, or cervical cancer early.  How about we prevent it so that your wife/mother/daughter has a better chance of beating it if they do catch it. Argh. People! 

Is the Affordable Care Act going to work?  Only time will tell.  Will it help? Only time will tell.  My plea is just to give it a freaking chance. Obama didn't put forth this bill to ruin our country. He didn't start this to ruin our healthcare system.  It's his attempt to fix it.  And I am damn proud of him for passing it.  We are the "greatest country in the world" but we leave countless citizens in horrible situations because we don't want "socialized medicine".  I'm lucky because I work for a University that offers tremendous coverage.  That isn't going to change.  I'm lucky that I have worked for nonprofits that tightened their belts in order to cover me as an employee.  I have always been lucky.  Many people aren't so lucky. Again, raise my taxes.  If that means that a family won't lose their house because their kid gets a brain tumor- than it's worth every penny to me.  Why oh why are we so selfish?  Why can't we help each other?  What happened to doing something for the common good?!  

This blog is getting long - so one more topic: air quality. People you have got to be blind to not see how terrible our air is.  Why can't we do small things to fix it?  Why is it SUCH a big deal to carpool, or not idle your damn car while waiting to pick your kids up from dance?  "It's too hot/cold outside for me to turn off my car!"  Boo-hoo.  Be cold for 2 minutes of your comfortable lives.  Something has got to change. Trust me, being cold in your car while waiting to make your bank deposit is a lot more comfortable than lung cancer.  Why can't we do more to make this better?  Why can't the Utah legislature pass a single bill that will fight this?  It's just mind-numbing.  

I'm not claiming to be perfect. I know I am selfish.  But I'm trying to be more aware. I'm trying to make an effort to do what's best for others.  Imagine how wonderful our country could be if we just stopped being selfish, if we stopped the partisan bickering, if we stopped thinking of ourselves first.  Perhaps we could really live up to the idea that America is the "greatest country."  It's a great country - no doubt.  But right now I have a hard time thinking it's the greatest.  I see a lot of hate, violence and fear.  We can be wonderful but not if we continue on this path of "me me me".  We have to put ourselves aside sometimes.  

Rant over. You can stop "following" my blog if this was too much.  I get it.