Monday, March 30, 2009

Introducing... Little Tam! 現在介紹…小小譚 baby!!

(Click the picture for enlargement 按圖片把圖片擴大)

Introducing…Little Tam! We considered waiting a couple weeks more before making “the big blog announcement,” but Grandma Swain’s email has been malfunctioning and so this is our excuse to let her see the first ultrasound pic. Anyway, we tend to be the open, sharing type of people in general--and it is driving us crazy to pretend otherwise. The pregnancy is at 10 weeks, and about a week ago we had the first ultrasound/got to hear the heartbeat via Doppler. As you can see, our baby is still in the “jelly bean” phase of growth, where both head and torso look equal in size and shape. Somehow we still get excited when we see this fuzzy blob and say, “how cute!” We are very thrilled, as the timing is good and we have been wanting this pregnancy for quite awhile. This baby will be the first grandchild for both Jerry’s parents and Courtney’s parents.

現在介紹…小小譚 baby。我們考慮過更等待幾個星期再做「blog大公告」,但是佳妮祖母的電子郵件發生故障,因此她的祖母能看到第一個超聲波的嬰兒照片。 懷孕是10個星期了,一個星期前, 在我們第一超聲波時, 我們聽到了baby的心跳聲。 您能看到,我們的嬰孩仍然到在早期成長階段之内,頭和腹部看起来大小相等。多麼可愛…!!! 我們非常興奮,時間真好, 我們已經等了這個懷胎很長時間。這個嬰孩將會是雙方父母的第一個孫。

Friday, March 27, 2009

If you don't have a smile, I'll give you one of mine

Last night became an impromptu Andy Griffith session as we finished the last two episodes on our rented DVD of season 2. I have found sitting on the floor makes me feel relatively childlike and giggly. Granted, I did not sit on the floor during last night's show, but Jerry decided to, and perhaps it explains a bit why he began laughing uncontrollably during part of our viewing. He hugged my knees, rocking us both back and forth as he struggled to breathe through his tearful mirth. I laughed along with him, enjoying the joke, but mostly enjoying Jerry's laughter.

"Again, again," he gasped as the funny part subsided. He rewound the DVD and we watched the scene a second time, this time laughing harder as we pointed out to each other our favorite moments. It has been awhile since I've seen my sweetheart laugh so hard. Thanks, Barney Fife, for bringing some lightness to our hearts.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Scotch/English Variety

Some friends of ours posted their Irish coat of arms a few days ago for St. Patrick's Day. I caught myself wondering about my maiden name (Steele) coat of arms and then on a whim looked up Tam as well. Hah! Who knew I kept the British strain going when I married Jerry. Apparently Tam is an old English surname for people who lived near the River Thames (Tam's River). Cute. Here is our authentic Tam Family Crest:

Also, Tam is the name of a charming Scottish cap:

(also the underpart of a graduate's cap/without the board)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

It's About Time

First off, a tacked on thanks for the good turnout on my last post. How fun to find a new reader, feel love from some oldie-goodie ones, and get an excuse to make something for you lucky first five commenters. My inner clockworkings are swirling with creativity right excited.

I have had some unexpected time on my hands recently, because my work ended up not approving me to have additional hours this semester as I originally understood it would. Granted, I could mope about less work meaning a few less dollars to spend, but instead I am reveling in the silver lining of TIME, lots of glorious time. Here are some things I have done with my newfound free time:

  • sleep (much needed, I assure you--lots of naps have made me a happy camper)
  • teach (volunteer ESL classes for our apartment complex) Meets every Tuesday/Thursday morning from 9:30-11:00 am in the multipurpose building and we have a lot of fun. I am doing the Tuesday morning ones; if you want to join please do!
  • read (the Book of Mormon mostly as I have a deadline approaching to meet my goal)
  • run (good times on the treadmill with a favorite movie...currently am halfway through a Fox Faith-film called The Ultimate Gift)
  • sit (the baby variety). In the past couple weeks I have provided loving childcare to babies Mary, Brooklyn, Marshal & Luke...and a few random older kids thrown in who helped entertain those last two on the list. (We really did have fun, Sara & Sheldon--and thanks for the movie night and all that good food!)
  • clean (hah! I wish! Currently have three baskets of laundry that need folding and a dryer rack of dishes to unload, so on that note I am going to get off the computer and go make my wish come true)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Wondering Who Our Readers Are

First Five Gimme Gimme

I saw this idea on a friend's blog and thought it was a fun way to bribe people to comment. Of course, we do not post blog entries for the primary purpose of fishing for love notes from friends, but it is fun to occasionally get feedback. Also, we would especially like to see if there are any mysterious readers out there whom we did not realize existed. We'll see.

The first five people to comment on this post will get a prize!

Something made by me. my choice. for you.

This offer does have some restrictions and limitations:

1. I make no guarantees that you will like what I make!

2. What I create will be just for you.

3. It’ll be done this year. {translation: you may be waiting a little while}

4. You have no clue what it’s going to be … it may be cards, a poem, a bookmark, something yummy or a complete surprise to you (and me!) … who knows? not you, that’s for sure!

5. I reserve the right to do something extremely strange.

6. This last part I am making optional, because I do not want someone to neglect to leave a comment because of it- Consider posting this offer to your own blog, if you have one. The first 5 people to comment on your blog (or if you do not have a blog, facebook) get something made by YOU!

…Those were the rules as copied from the "A Stranger Here" blog. She added an idea: If you’re not the kind of person that wants to make something tangible for others, how about some kind of service for them, any type, any size? (Additional note: If you live close by, I would love to do the service option. But I am the "tangible" creator kind of person as well, so you could get either option). --CT

Monday, March 9, 2009

When a Warning Label Isn't Enough

I compulsively read food product labels, partly because I have some unique health ideas as well as curiosity about what goes into my mouth. Yesterday I purchased a little Asian snack that I have eaten before, so I refrained from analyzing the label this time around and devoured one piece with gusto. Some Asian snacks have edible rice paper wrappers, and this product happens to be that variety. Or should I say, "USED TO BE" that variety.

After swallowing, I noticed the edible rice paper wrapper had not melted in my mouth as usual. Instead, it left clumpy scraps of itself between my teeth, under my tongue, and halfway down my esophagus. Suspiciously turning the package in my hands, I found a tiny adhesive note glued to the box: Wax Paper Wrapper, the note explained. With my fingernail, I scraped the adhesive note off and found the old familiar label underneath: Edible Rice Paper Wrapper. I am still in denial that this occurence is my own fault.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Apples and Oranges

It is a little nerve wracking to yet again put my political/philosophical musings out on a public venue (feel free to stop reading now if you don't appreciate these kinds of posts). But it feels empowering and healthy to voice my opinions. I am thankful to have what I could call an opinion of my own on most issues. Granted, my opinions morph over time, as I continually seek to learn and grow in understanding.

As I have followed the latest Prop 8 proceedings, it appears to look more and more like this:

Obviously agreement will never happen when both groups begin a debate on entirely different trajectories. One steps out boldly waging a battle for “rights” and the other begins a path crusading for “what is right.” One is a matter of justice; the other, a matter of morality. Is it any wonder we have failure to find common ground?

It reminds me of the Prolife/Prochoice camps duking out the abortion issue. While prolifers may make reference to the rights of an unborn child, the true heart of their dilemma is morality vs. immorality—the “sacredness” of life. In other words, it is a moral, faith-based philosophy that triggers their passion. Is that how prochoicers see it? They reason from an entirely different philosophy, touting the rights of women to have control over their bodies, which is not comparable to the debate over life and death inherent in the prolife view. Furthermore, most in the prolife community would agree that a woman’s body is not her own to begin with—but rather, all people’s bodies are gifts from God and He expects them to be a gift well-used. Thus, there is not a common denominator between the two groups, even from step one.

In what might seem a tangent, may I also take this moment to encourage prolife activists to focus their efforts on positive reinforcement, rather than punitive discipline. Parents often find simply telling children “No—stop that!” is an ineffective route to change. Instead, most parents would agree that giving a child a positive alternative to the negative action tends to produce more prompt and lasting change. For instance, if a child is hitting a peer, rather than saying merely, “No! Stop hitting,” a parent would do well to follow up with: “Hitting is wrong because hands are for helping. What good things can we do with hands? We can build a tower using blocks, and we can stroke each others’ hair.”

So consider saying less statements like “Halt Abortions,” and instead more often promoting, “Place for Adoption.” Currently in the US, the vast majority of media and popular culture present two options for a single woman who finds herself pregnant: abort or raise the child on your own. The right to abort a child may always exist, and indeed I do not have hope of that right ever being overturned. But I do have hope that the United State’s culture will one day be more adoption friendly. All of us can begin now to battle the negatives surrounding adoption. Start by correcting the language you use. For example, instead of saying “giving up” a child for adoption, say, “place” a child for adoption. There are more examples of language correction found here. And if you want to educate yourself, or know someone who could use the resource, here is the best adoption site ever: the newly revamped LDS Family Services site.

Friday, March 6, 2009

One more reason to love BYU 美國五大最佳的商學院

Congrats to BYU...and congrats to Jerry! He is on track to graduate this semester from an undergraduate business school that just jumped to the top 5 spot nationwide, according to a BusinessWeek review.

Here are a few highlights of why the Marriot School is a gem:

Ranks #1 in recruiters survey

Ranks #4 in low cost tuition. The next closest private school in the ranking had tuition four times more expensive. Thank you, everyone who pays tithing to make it possible for us to be here.

Ranks on overall score above such undergrad business programs as Berkeley, MIT, and Cornell, to name a few.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Neuroticism's Unexpected Benefit

Ever have that sinking feeling as you make a comment, when the thoughts that feel brilliant in your heart fail to emerge from your mouth as intended? I have these moments frequently as I attend courses here at university. Sometimes the disappointed feeling with my class comments lingers into the night, and I keep myself awake with repeated admonitions in my mind: "This is what I really meant to say." Of course I try to stop obsessing and figure the moment is past--so it does no good to rehearse what I wish I would have said, right?

Perhaps not; perhaps those anxiety-filled rehearsals have some benefit afterall. During the second day of class this semester, I made a comment that fit the above-paragraph's description. It left me troubled for weeks, during which time I formulated the exact words I wished I would have said. I even rehearsed the speech to my husband. "See?" I complained. "Why couldn't it have just come out that way in the first place?" He gave me encouraging feedback, and I felt mollified, but figured the moment to use those brilliant words would never come.

But it did. Yesterday, the exact topic that had left me with a verbal fumble months ago rose again in class discussion. My heart sprang into action, pumping the words I wished I would have said straight to my brain. My hand rose in the air, and with a perfection that only comes through practice, I delivered the message intended. My words flowed with precision, art, and poise. My teacher wrote my comment on the board, asking the class to contemplate it in preparation for where future discussion would go. I felt triumphant, strong. My feet marched a victor's stride out the classroom door and I thanked God for my neurotic, rehearsal-prone brain.