Thursday, December 18, 2008

I know. . .

I just did a "Deep Thoughts" but this is really funny. . .

Soren and I were making a banana peanut butter smoothie and Soren took a big bite of peanut butter. Then he said, "now I'll have to brush my teeth this year." He hasn't quite grasped the time frame thingy with yesterdays, last weeks and time in general.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Deep Thoughts by Soren

"Where is the heck of Dad?"

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

There's a fantastic new dance blog that was started by dancer and dance advocate Nichelle Strzepek. To check out her articles and discussions go here.

There are interesting and informative reads on all dance related topics-- boys in dance, refugee dance performers, politics, studio issues, professional performers and performances and much much more. Her latest post is titled Pregnancy and Parenthood in Dance. So, all you dancers and dancer moms out there check it out!
Dahlia is our little darling who loves to nurse--I forgot how much work it is. She sleeps well at night for which I am very grateful and smiles randomly. I can tell her eyes are starting to focus more and more.

2 kids are a lot more work than one. Who would have thought? Soren is adjusting well most of the time but we've had some hard moments. . . I've had mommy guilt that I can't be there for him like I was able to before. Moms with more than one child--Did you feel guilty as well? And, let me just say that I have ample respect for you moms with 3 plus kids! I think my blogging is going to slow down drastically until I get into a routine.

Our sleeping flower

Dad this morning

Family photo shoot

This is the vacuum decorated by Soren for Christmas. He told me we had a new vacuum and showed me his lovely creation.

Dahlia Ann with Grandma DD (Darla Ann)

Emilia and Soren in the rain and hail

Dahlia smiles

My mom has been here helping out and it's been so wonderful. She adores Dahlia and all her grandchildren. She has recently returned from Rotterdam where she stayed and helped out with Charla and she's been helping Bridget with her kids as well. She made it home just in time for Dahlia's birth (the day before)! It's been a vacation of sorts for her but not a luxurious, relaxing, kick your heals up in the sun vacation. . . I think she misses the the sun too much to settle down here. I think I do too! Thanks mom for all your help!

I've got some cute videos coming. . .

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My due date was today. . .

. . . but I decided to come a week early (11-11 at 11pm)! My mom was so excited she lost 7 pounds 13 ounces. We're all doing well and Soren loves me dearly. He calls me "Baby Sweet Cakes" and gives me kisses galore. Dad's so happy to have a little girl but I think he's more tired than my mom!

I was born at home and welcomed into my new surroundings by my mom, my dad, my Grandma DD, my aunt Bridget and some wonderful midwives. The midwives gave me to my mom right away and she was so happy she cried. There were times when my mom thought she couldn't go on but I was determined and finally entered this world beautiful and healthy. My first cry was welcomed by all in the room--my first song in this life.

Lots of love,


Monday, November 03, 2008

Soren's in the other room playing with play dough and having little conversations with the characters he makes. I heard him say "you created me and now you're scared of me." I love it when he gets in the zone and is completely in his own world.

We've gone pumpkin crazy here in Scotland with pumpkin boy (for the 3rd year), pumpkin muffins, pumpkin painting, roasted pumpkin seeds and more! Canned pumpkin isn't that easy to come by (and doing it yourself is more my style) so we baked our pumpkin and pureed it and made muffins yesterday. Jason roasted the seeds and they were good and salty. I have some more puree in the fridge for pumpkin pancakes tomorrow. Our friends who has us over for Halloween made pumpkin pie that was delicious so that will the next thing we're including in our pumpkin extravaganza!

My friend Sarra posted a great recipe as well. I just didn't have all of the ingredients in the house to try it out. . . but I will soon. And you're right Sarra, pumpkins are underrated!

Here are some photos of our recent happenings-- Halloween piñata and all! Oh, and the yellow ribbon around his neck is another Sorenism. He got the ribbon from a package we received and really enjoyed wearing it. I think it adds to the costume for sure. What do you think?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Here are some photos Jason with his friend Jens while in Oxford. They were able to take some time during their intensive Pali course to see some sites.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I just finished The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and my love for it must be made known! But, I had one teeny problem while reading it: the book was borrowed so I couldn't write in it and highlight the many parts I enjoyed. This is another book that I'll have to get my own copy of.

I have officially finished work . I was teaching 4 dance classes a week which is NOT a lot but when you are approaching 8 months of pregnancy it can get pretty taxing physically. Happiness and joy, joy and happiness for no more classes. . . with no more work my love of vegan and vegetarian cooking has been reborn and I just made a loaf of kamut rice bread. When it's still hot, have a slice with vegan or regular butter and honey and oh, is it yummy! Jason and I use to get really creative with our breads and use combinations of garbanzo, soy, millet and other flours-- we even threw in whole millet sometimes for a hearty crunchy texture. The recipe is yeast-free and we usually adapted it to what we had in the house (eggs or flax meal, and honey, brown rice syrup or maple). Diverse flour is hard to come by here but they've started carrying some at an organic market we frequent and I'm all smiles and ready to get creative in the kitchen again.

The recipe we follow and adapt is Millet Rice Bread (I couldn't find the link online but I'll give it another look).

Here's another good recipe that I'm going to try. It's basically the same as the one we follow with an added variation. So, maybe it's an updated version of the one I was looking for.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Parties and Birthdays and bit more on crying. . .

I turned 31 two weeks ago. I feel like I should be forever 26 but such is not the case and I really enjoy who I am and what I'm becoming. I don't ever want to shy away from how old I am because that is a part of who I am. Each year I confront new experiences and think of old experiences in a new way. I enjoy this process.

I'm not a huge birthday party fan for myself. Like, please don't throw me a surprise party and if I have a party I'd love to share the lime light with someone else with a Birthday nearby.

When I was sixteen one of my high school friends, with the help of my mom, threw a surprise party for me at the T Bird dinner. The memory always makes me laugh. A while back I did a post about crying and Paula Abdul and the crying part comes into play in this story. The surprise was not so much of a surprise in the end and I think that's how most "surprise parties" go. So, while we were having our party, all seated at the table probably ordering food and talking party talk, there's this DJ man with crazy long legs, short shorts and blond curly mullet-ish hair doing his DJ thang. When he saw that it was my Birthday he tried to get me to come up and dance with him to YMCA. I was laughing but horribly embarrassed (also because he would come up and dance behind me as well). Anyway, while I was experiencing all of these emotions and laughing nervously I also started to cry. The crying wasn't very obvious but laughing and crying often go hand and hand with me. Luckily, my friend, who never minded the lampshade on her head, got up and danced with him saving me from further freak out. All eyes were on me as I outwardly dealt with these seemingly opposing emotions. We did have a good time but I think this story illustrates my early realization that I shy away from attention like that and that if I'm going to laugh really hard a cry might be on its way too. I'm so transparent.

But, I love Love LOVE doing parties for others . . . and I had a great Birthday. AND (here's the clincher), I even had a piccola party with family and some friends. . . and I survived the attention. . . it was great. Can you believe it? I think I'm growing up at 31.

Monday, October 13, 2008

My mom use to joke that Soren was our Little Lord Fauntleroy and Jason and I made a game out of how many ways we could say Fauntleroy. For example, we came up Fauntleroy, Fauntleroy and Fauntleroy--it's a pretty awesome game. You should try it sometime. . . we also talked about getting him a burgundy velvet suit for church. I think this coat my sister brought him is a close second.

This is Soren charging at his Dad when he realized he was taking pictures. After church it's ritual for Soren and his friends Issac and Penelope to run out to the grassy area and find berries, bears and whatever the latest is. They look for each other when the meeting is over and it's the highlight of their Sundays.

The photo reminds me of Sam from Lord of the Rings coming to save Frodo.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Deep Thoughts by Leif

Scene: Cammie talking to Bridget about their mom's travels before arriving in Scotland. All the kids are around.

Cammie comments, ". . .there are so many places to visit."

Leif replies, "and then there's that asteroid that's going to hit the earth."

Sunday, September 28, 2008

My friend Suvi has started a discussion about the bailout that I enjoyed and I just wanted to pass it along.

Click here for her blog.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Where do I begin

Emilia and Soren at The University of Glasgow

A few month ago I was missing family and home quite a bit. We are about to begin our 3rd year in Glasgow and I love it but was longing for sunshine and sisters and cousins and parents and family visits for the holidays. . .etc. So, when I heard the big news about my sister Charla moving to The Netherlands I was elated and still am. Feeling totally lucky I was already mentally planning to visit and have her close to us. THEN, another surprise fell from the stars making me the luckiest girl in town! For those of you who don't know my sister Bridget I have big news because she just moved to Glasgow and we live in walking distance from each other. And, she has 4 gorgeous children that are now living here too. Soren is in heaven and we're excited beyond belief. Going to the park with cousins has just quadrupled in fun and Soren is now part of their posse. He is doted on and is learning to go with their flow as they help him along. It's so heartwarming to see them together and he has taken a particular liking to Paris who is almost 5yrs now.

They share his imagination and love natural surroundings as well. Fairies live in the mushrooms and we bring Gruffalo eggs home from walks. Jason and Soren spotted the hot red mushroom (above) at The University of Glasgow campus the other day and had to bring me to see it also. Isn't it unbelievable!? We finally got a picture of it on the way home from church today. Sadly it had been knocked down but we put it back where it had been growing for the photo and added a picture of another enchanting smurf colony. For more mushroom photos check out Bridget's blog. Apples are growing on trees as we walk by and we picked four for the road. The beginnings of Fall are so wonderful here and with short days coming I'm getting ready to go inward physically and mentally (out of necessity).

I have so much to catch up on with my blog and I feel a bit overwhelmed. I'm 7 months along with my pregnancy and feeling healthy. More posts are coming. . . xo

Friday, September 19, 2008

Political Comedy with Nicholas Fehn

This one of our favorite comedians from SNL. Enjoy.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Stop Election Spoilers

I came across this post a little while ago, and was impressed with how simple it could be to fix our broken political process to a large extent. Something is fundamentally wrong with a system in which someone who comes in second place in popular votes can still end up winning the electoral college and taking the highest political office in the world. Although I think that a term like 'spoiler' is bigoted because any candidate who does not win the election is equally deserving of the title, and because everyone has the right to take part in the process, I do still appreciate Steven Hills remarks on how easy it would be to make our process more democratic. It looks like voting for third-party 'spoilers' like Ralph Nader, Ron Paul, and Ross Perot is a good way of pressuring the two major parties to take action on reforming the process. Whether they win or lose, it supports real change and reform in truly progressive policies- free from corporate domination. So spoil on, guys!

With Ralph Nader in the race, Democrats are fuming and no doubt preparing to use the same legal tricks they used in 2004 to keep Nader off the ballot in many states. Republicans are cackling with glee.

But Republicans shouldn't cackle too loudly. They've also been hurt by the spoiler dilemma. In fact, the GOP lost control of the U.S. Senate due to Libertarian Party candidates in Montana, Washington, Missouri, Nevada and South Dakota spoiling things for Republicans. And many observers believe that Bill Clinton beat George H.W. Bush in 1992 only because Ross Perot drained away enough votes from Bush.

The problem is that the winners of our highest offices are not required to win a majority of the vote, either nationwide or in each state. Without a majority requirement, we can't be certain in a multi-candidate field that the winner will be the one preferred by the most voters.

How ridiculous: We can map the human genome, and send an astronaut to the moon, but we can't figure out a way to hold elections that guarantee the winner has a majority of the vote?

Naturally people are having flashbacks to the 2000 election, when George Bush beat Al Gore in Florida by only 538 votes, even though Bush lacked a majority of Florida's popular vote and Ralph Nader won 97,000 votes.

So much is at stake in a presidential election that we have to make sure that the winner this November can legitimately claim the presidency and try to heal a polarized nation. Yet despite the spoiler problem playing out in the 2000 presidential election and in various Senate races, neither Democratic nor Republican Party leaders have done anything to fix this defect of our electoral system.

Fortunately, it's not too late to address this problem. Since the U.S. Constitution delegates to states the method of choosing its Electoral College electors, each state legislature could pass into law - right now - a majority requirement for their state to ensure that whichever candidate wins, he or she will command support from a majority of that state's voters. We don't even need to do it in every state, since the race will boil down to a half-dozen battleground states, including the perennials Ohio and Florida.

Rather than asking Nader or any candidate to forego his democratic right to run for political office, the Democratic and Republican leaders could legislate this right now. What are they waiting for? Time is growing short, but it's in the public interest to protect majority rule.

One approach would be to adopt a two-round runoff system similar to that used in most presidential elections around the world and many southern primaries and local elections in the United States. A first round with all candidates could take place in mid-October. The top two finishers would face off in November, with the winner certain to have a majority.

But two elections would be expensive and time-consuming, both for taxpayers and candidates. So a better way would be for each state to adopt instant runoff voting (IRV), which accomplishes the goal of electing a winner with majority support, but getting it over in a single election. IRV allows voters to pick not only their first choice but also to rank a second and third choice at the same time, 1, 2, 3. If your first choice can't win, your vote goes to your second choice. The runoff rankings are used to determine a majority winner with only one election. Nader or Perot-type voters are liberated to vote for their favorite candidate without helping to elect their least favorite. IRV is used in Ireland and Australia for national elections, in San Francisco, Cary, N.C., and elsewhere for local elections, and in South Carolina, Arkansas and Louisiana for overseas voters.

Interestingly, IRV is supported by John McCain, Barack Obama and Ralph Nader.

Many people are criticizing Nader for risking a repeat of 2000, but only Democrats and Republicans have the power to change the rules of the game. We've seen this movie before and don't like how it might turn out. It's time for the Democrats and Republicans to produce a new ending by fashioning a fair, majoritarian system for electing our nation's highest offices

Originally published in the Philadelphia Daily News.

Steven Hill is director of the Political Reform Program at the New America Foundation and author of "10 Steps to Repair American Democracy" (

Friday, September 05, 2008

London and Sorenisms

The Tower Bridge

Soren at the Science Museum

My dad in front of Big Ben

Daddy in a daze

The Tower of London (part of it anyway)

Where to begin. . . My dad came to visit for the last week that Jason was gone and we did some traveling around Scotland. The River and Loch Tay are so beautiful and we enjoyed Scottish pies and pastries along our drives. I always enjoy my dad's visits because of his free spirit and open mindedness. We rented a car and he took me to two of my short dance classes that I taught and the rest was fun free traveling. Soren was so happy to see his grandpa again and have some more company around the house. My dad took Soren fishing for the first time and he was excited, amazed, shocked and stressed about the fish after being caught. Poor little fishies! We brought home 2 big fish. My dad caught the first one and I caught the second one. After catching his fish he baited the line and got everything ready and then gave it to me. He said that if the float on the line goes under the water that means a fish is biting. So, while we were talking I looked out at the water and couldn't see the float! I tried to get my dad to take the line but he wanted me to catch the fish and so I did. I have mixed emotions about catching it.

This was my dad's 3rd trip to Scotland for a visit and he's been wanting to go fishing and take Soren to catch one. It was definitely a learning experience and I'm glad we realized that goal.

Here's a part of Soren's prayer that night after we got home:

Heavenly Father, Sorry that the fish bleeded. We cleaned it, no big deal. . .

Yes, he really said "no big deal" and was concerned very much for the fish. In his precious little voice it was the sweetest thing ever. Fishing is sad for me too but we were extra grateful and I must say that my dad is an excellent chef when it comes to cooking it.

After our journeys around Scotland he flew to London to meet Jason. London is fantastic with so many great museums that are FREE! We had a great time touring and reuniting with Jason--we missed him so much. We're all big fans of city bus tours and loved relaxing while seeing so many historic sites. The week with my dad flew by and saying good bye is always sad. I cried and that always makes my dad cry too. Thanks for everything dad!

Jason had our camera in Oxford while we were traveling with my dad so I'll be sure to post more green and lovely photos of Scotland when my dad sends them. . . and stay tuned for some great shots of Oxford from Jason as well.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


I stumbled across this last week while trying to find a short Sesame Street clip for Soren. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Jason left on the 16th for a 2 week course in Oxford where he's studying Pali, which is a form of Sanskrit. I know, it sounds crazy hard to me too! The thought of him being gone that long gave me anxiety but it's surprising how able and self sufficient we can become when we have to. I definitely prefer our routine when we're both here. But, Soren has been my little helper and has been telling me he loves me more than the usual. He must sense that I need the encouragement. He's such a sensitive little dude.

We miss you Jason and can't wait to come and meet you in London when you finish!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I just finished To Kill a Mocking Bird this morning. I loved it. Harper Lee is a writer to be commended always because of this great work and she is most definitely worthy of her Pulitzer Prize. I was reading a few lines to Jason a couple of days ago and they touched me so deeply I cried. It's a Jewel among literature--not the trendy kind of jewelry that everyone wears, enjoys and then gives to the charity shop after a while. This one is a keeper. A treasure.

I checked a copy out from the library but can't wait to buy my own for Soren to read someday.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Sisters and Smoothies

My sister Charla and I always joke that we're on the same wave length. A few days ago we were chatting and we both wanted to tell each other the type of smoothie we had been making. I went first and told her about my peach, banana smoothie with Greek yogurt. Guess what her's was! Yep--peach, banana smoothie with Greek yogurt!

Here's my recipe:

a lot of Greek yogurt
one peach
one frozen banana
a tablespoon of maple syrup (Charla used honey)
and maybe a half a cup of rice milk (regular milk or whatever you like)

Blend and enjoy!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Kobra Najjar

I was just reading a post from fmh and wanted to alert anyone who didn't know this story.

Please go here to help Kobra Najjar. She is sentenced to death by stoning. The link explains her horrible situation and what you can do to help stop this.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

5 years!!

Here's to five wonderful years of being married. I love Jason. I love our family. I love thinking about our wedding, dating and being engaged. It was like walking around in a pink and blue cloud all the time.

I love the heart shaped cloud above our get-away car that connects with the heart painted on the car (decorations courtesy of Sam and Grant). I love that Jason loves me. I love his heart. I love his love for Soren. I love his dancing. I love him.

(most of our wedding photos are in storage. Hence, the delay in posting about our celebration).

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Highlands

Last week we took a trip to the Highlands of Scotland to see Loch Ness (and search for the monster), Inverary, and some other beautiful places. We decided it would be our anniversary present to each other (photos on that topic coming). Our time was well spent as we basked in the green fields, got a bit of sun, and made some wonderful friends along the way. If you've ever wondered what it would be like to look at a sea of emeralds then come to Scotland. Your eyes will not be disappointed with the many layers of green in elegant shades upon shades that make your heart calmed and grateful.

We went with a group of international students from Glasgow University and their families. Our group was truly international with some of the homelands including Kuwait, Taiwan, Japan, the US, Africa and more. The families were so friendly and kind!

One unfortunate event during our travels was that our camera stopped working. Yes, our brand new camera that did everything we wanted. We did manage to take some photos from the first half of the trip so here they are. . . .

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Bumps, Bugs Under Rocks and Art

The West End Festival just finished up in Glasgow and we had a fabulous time at some of the activities for the little ones. Last Saturday we took Soren to a Puppet show and yesterday Jason took him to a family arts and crafts program. They were told to bring used glass or plastic containers to paint and there would also be other things to make beautiful. Jason even learned how to make recycled paper.

In the middle of the week I taught 2 dance classed for the festivities and they were loads of fun (and so many showed up)!