Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Littlest Angels

At this time of year especially, I suffer more acutely from my usual predicament. Too many pictures and too little time. But today, since you can't take pictures in the chapel, you'll have to use your imagination for the most part.

Our December has been busy, busy, busy. GK's been finishing up finals and working hard being the dad around here. I've been hanging out with Van, watching him develop into a curious, beautiful, boy. He stops people on the street and on the subway with his stares. He loves watching people and engaging with anyone who's willing.

Once he's in bed, I've been pretty productive this season too. While putting together a million yummy plates of our traditional puffs, and sugar cookies, and brownies (a last minute substitute for a miserably failed batch of fudge),
I had a vision open in my mind. I thought about what wonderful little singers my primary kids are. Suddenly I thought, "Wouldn't they look sweet if they could dress in costumes while they sang? Hmmm."

And so it began. Out of simple pieces of fabric (curtains and scraps, plus a little tinsel), I made a Mary, a Joseph, 13 jr. shepherds(all sunbeams!), 5 lead shepherds,6 wisemen,

and 6 angels costumes.

This is Evelyn. She was supposed to be a jr. shepherd, but she wanted to be Glinda the good witch. She decided an angel was close enough. Good thing I had extra tinsel!

Imagine all of these little people crammed up on the stand singing with all their hearts "Away in a Manger" and "Still, Still, Still", feeling incredibly important. And they were. They gave me goose bumps. It was really beautiful.

This is the type of project that could go terribly wrong or perfectly right. Thank goodness for Christmas miracles.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Good Husband

When he signs up to bring soup to the Christmas Lunch at church, he makes it himself.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Getting Ready

It's Christmas time. And I love it. I love the decorations. I love the music. I love the tendency to think of others and to be more generous. I love Jesus. And I love to be the Primary Chorister. We're getting ready for the Christmas Program next week. Stay tuned, it's gonna be a good one.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tis the Season

Since there aren't words to describe the loveliness of our Thanksgiving this year, I thought quantity might have to take the place of quality. And since a picture is worth 1000 words, here you'll find a 14,000+ word description of our wonderful getaway.
My Aunt and Uncle (Betsy and Larry) invited us to their country house in CT

We ate a beautiful dinner in the "barn"

Which they have characteristically made classy, cozy and gorgeous (this is GK's favorite feature)

This is mine

GK liked it too. We didn't give Vanny a ride. Maybe next time

His favorite thing was the bathtub where he could splash and kick to his heart's content

Larry took us on a nature walk and from the top of the hill we could see three states

On the way home, we decided to stop and cut down our Christmas tree. The little farm where we got our tree last year was on our way home (they close at dark and we made it just in time).

Abel's Tree Farm

In no time, the boys had found the perfect tree

And GK went to work

We picked out a pretty little wreath

And headed for home

And made our little hobit hole a pretty cozy place.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Four Months

I've been told he's really starting to look like me. I think it's the drool.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Babysitter

It's gratifying to find diligent, competent childcare.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Cargo Baby

So far, Van hates strollers.
He may humor me and pretend to be happy for ten minutes or so max. But then inevitably by the time I'm far enough from home to obliterate the option of leaving the stroller behind, he gets bored of pretending.
But for those of you who only know him from deceivingly quiet pictures, let me tell you__he is not a quiet baby. He burps loudly, he poops loudly, he spits up loudly, he eats loudly, and he will always tell you how he is feeling.
That means when he's happy, he talks constantly making faces as he talks that make you sure he knows exactly what his little sounds mean.
But it also means that when he's unhappy, he doesn't make a soft whimper of protest. Oh no, he screams. He cries so loudly that the walk back home with the dissatisfied stroller rider is pretty miserable for baby and mommy alike.
This dislike for strollers has existed since he came out of his sleepy phase after only a week or two of life. As a result I have tried every baby carrier from the Bjorn to the Ergo to every kind of sling. He immediately showed preference for the sling and so I borrowed a couple of slings from friends and he has experienced New York City (and every other place he's been so far) in his Mama's arms.

Boing. The store in our neighborhood that discourages stroller use and teaches Baby Wearing classes

In Boston with Mimi and Poppie Risser in front of the USS Constitution

In front of FAO Schwartz (he's decided to always take visiting grandparents to the toy store)

In Virginia at his buddy Zane's soccer game

Well he's finally too big to be hanging on one of my shoulders for long distances and long amounts of time and so I've been experimenting with more "baby wearing" options.

I borrowed this Moby wrap (that is hidden completely under my sweatshirt) from a friend

A moby wrap is actually just a piece of fabric about 15 feet long that you use to tether your child to your body. They sell for a pretty penny so I thought I'd just make one. But I didn't have enough fabric lying around so the other night after looking at all the kinds of Mei Tei carriers (for sale for lots of money all over the internet), I made one.

Here it is sans baby

Here it is occupied by Van (ps. He loves it!)
These carriers obviously take far less than 15 feet of fabric. In fact, I used odds and ends I'd been hanging onto for a long time. Including a little piece of fabric my mom made a few things out of when I was a little girl, one of her old maternity dresses, and a pair of GK's old Patagonia pants (I wonder if the lifetime warranty is still valid).
So this is the way we'll be tromping around the city for the next month or two while I try to build up his stroller tolerance.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

It's a New Day

Let's get to work.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Did We Really Want A Part II?

Like I said...Thank goodness this is all over tomorrow. At least for a few years.
My post obviously sparked some discussion, and questions. Let me respond with my own thoughts, in my own words. I consider them uniquely mine. Also, they are not meant to convince anyone. I state them as observations and personal conclusions.

Concerning Prop 8 as I see it; it's a reaction to a tangled confusing mess of poor law making.
There is a hard-core game of political volley going on in California. Both sides have taken extreme positions, and none of us get to vote for the grey. Here is my basis for choosing Yes on Prop 8:


I believe in saving sex for the marriage relationship. Baring other social or spiritual explanations of this concept, the main purpose for sex (but not the only), naturally and spiritually, is to create children. As a result, I believe that the foundational purpose for marriage is the creation of children. I married with the intent of creating a family of my own. This can only be done by a heterosexual couple. That's fact. With the creation of a child come inherent obligations and duties to that child and spouse. Inherent rights of protection also belong to that union and unique natural bond. These duties, rights, and obligations, because they pertain specifically to the creation of children, pertain specifically to heterosexual unions, legally and religiously. This makes sense to me and I can't deny it. Feeling that way leads me to defend the traditional definition of marriage. And that changing that simple and natural definition dilutes the rights, privileges, and protections that are an inherent part of it.


This is not a simple matter at all. I wish I wasn't a part of this political mess, and it is a big sloppy mess. I think that all sane people on both sides of the fence wish they weren't part of it, but if you are a current California resident there is no way for you not to be involved. The foundation of the court's logic is that the legal grounds for their whole decision are based on their opinion that the people have either created laws pointing to an end result similar to the court's decision by granting equal contractual rights to same-sex couples (so they are simply speeding up the process for them without consent), or, that by not speaking the people have decided that they don't care about the issue one way or another (so the court has decided for them). This is not at all the court's right or function. Additionally, the people did speak, and the court over-ruled it. And the law was designed to create boundaries for the protection of both types of unions, and the court erased them. Regardless of how their decision affects anyone in my life, I can't support the court's decision in any way. It is obviously creating law, not interpreting it. In fact, it ruins the political system. Based on the language of the decision, it seems personal to me. I don't want to allow the court's actions to go unchecked because the language of the decision implies that the court feels it has the right to make whatever laws it wants to. The dissenting judges very clearly stated these same concerns. Prop 8 is the only option available to the people for saying anything about this matter of judiciary abuse and privilege.


At the risk of being too frank, and misunderstood, what makes this issue difficult to navigate is that homosexuality is more than a character trait. If it were simply a character trait, like race, which is how it is being treated by the court, then it absolutely deserves the civil rights attention that it gets. But it is also a behavior, which race is not. This is where the matter gets tricky. The behavior of homosexuality is not the same as the behavior of heterosexuality, and the two produce very different, even opposite, results in regards to the creation of life. Calling them the same would be ignoring reality. Calling them the same on paper would dissolve the understanding and definition of what each is. They are different from each other. Calling their unions the same doesn't seem correct. Not as a matter of sentiment or love, but as a matter of identification. If a definition is incorrect, laws addressing it can never be anything but incorrect. The court also speaks of equal dignity and respect and claims that is what it is creating. But by trying to call the two unions the same the court avoids the issue with a sophomoric quick fix and in my mind sweeps homosexuality under the carpet. There is no dignity or respect in that.


I don't know what would happen if the decision was allowed to stand. But I do know that it would dilute the power of the people and it would complicate the issue at hand.


Making these thoughts public is difficult for me because I prefer my privacy and I respect the privacy of others. I've tried my best not to say anything upsetting to anyone, but isn't that hard to do? I would hope that anyone who knows me really believes that I genuinely love the people in my life. I don't intend any of this to be taken as hostile in any way. I don't see why any of it would be. I am sorry to post it here, it doesn't match the rest of the blog. A political blog would have been better.

Now let's talk about something else. I'm done talking about this.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

This Is All I Have To Say

Thank the Lord for term limits and scheduled elections.

Can you imagine living in a country without such amenities? What would it be like? Take a look at the revolution and constant murder for power that goes on in most of South America, Asia, Africa, Quebec. What would the US be like if the divisiveness of political radicals and the fear attached to uncertainty went on without end? God bless the founding fathers (who fought amongst themselves like hockey-moms and pitbulls) and the inspiration from Heaven that put in their minds so many wonderful things that they had never even heard of. Let's remember, the point was that they had been ruled by a King for thousands of years, not a Democratic or Republican for four to eight.

I am so grateful for the American political system. Even though we think the other side is taking us all down to hell every four years, I couldn't say more sincere prayers of gratitude through the other three years that it's not as bad. Competition seems to bring out the best and the worst in people. Like most things on this Earth, it's a double-edged sword. I'm so grateful for bicameralism and checks and balances. I believe they work.

AM New York ran a funny hypothetical a few months ago called "What If 9/11 Never Happened". According to their predictions; George Bush would have been ousted for his shenanigans, Kerry would have become President, Gore would have been Secretary of Environment, the war, the economy, and the environment would all go to pot, Obama have a simple law practice in Chicago, McCain would be a retiring Arizona Senator, and Mitt Romney (because of his business and political experience) President of the United States. I wonder how many of us who share moral beliefs with Mitt Romney would have watched his every move for what we felt was hypocrisy, ready to disown him. I wonder how many would turn a blind eye to those same mistakes and compromises. Thank the Lord for the separation of Church and State.

I hope we all vote. To show our support for the system if nothing else. If we don't vote, others still will. Hopefully forever.

Let's vote with wisdom. The internet makes it so easy to learn about the candidates and issues. It's wonderful. It also makes it easier to be swayed by spin doctors, hate mongers, dooms dayers, and all other sorts of black magic mumbo jumbo. Political issues have to be put into the context of pork barrelling, a global marketplace, tack-on legislation, diplomatic relations, resource wars, corruption, virtue, and the sacred rights and varying opinions of over 300 million individuals. Still, I hope we all stand firm in what we believe.

Even with the installment of the Blurk Detector to the right of the screen, I still am not aware of who everyone is that views our blog. We've seen hits from the west, the east, the midwest, the south, Asia, Europe, and South America. I don't know all of your politics, I do know some. Often politics have to do with the issues of where we live, sometimes they have to do with how we live. Finding out what is best for all of us is a tricky matter to say the least. Thank goodness for the protection of free speech and the right to vote.

As for myself, I'd like to exercise my sacred right to speak on one issue very briefly; California Proposition 8. I've read the high court's decision. I believe it needs to be checked. It speaks of "form and substance", but it is mistaken. It switches the resolution of one issue with another. Only a union between a man and woman can create a child. No other can. It seems to me that the ability to procreate is the most powerful, and therefore, sacred double-edged sword in the hands of mankind. It deserves unique rights, obligations, and protections. I hope we all agree that everyone deserves the same basic human rights. More importantly, I hope we live as we speak. But rights exist only with protections. Many of those rights are nullified if the traditional family is dissolved. As a student who is planning to move back to California after graduation, I am a resident and an official out-of-state voter. I voted Yes on California Proposition 8. If you are in support of these things, I hope that you vote Yes too.

Now, I'll spare you having to listen to how much I am behind Barack Obama and Joe Biden and believe they will create a cabinet of diplomacy and vision.

Stay tuned, there are only four more days left to bedlam. Susanna will post cute pictures of the baby before then.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Van's Recent Firsts

Here are just a few.

His First...

Patagonia Fleece (thanks to Aunt Liza) and M&M hat (thanks to Mimi)

Stroll through Greenwood Cemetery (where Leonard Bernstein and Houdini are buried)

Presidential Debate (which he slept through most of)

Visit to a 1000 pound pumpkin grown by Mimi Risser's cousin Danny

Autographed picture of Miss Vermont (which he graciously had signed for his Uncle Bubba)

Time meeting Mimi's cousins and traveling in a car long hours listening to his mother sing Bingo to try to distract him.

Really cool hat (thanks Mimi)

Just for fun.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


How do I love thee, let me count the ways.

(Even though there are far more than thirty-two of them, in honor of thirty-two action packed years, here are just a few of the reasons I love Gordon Keith Risser III)

Happy Birthday love.

1. Your integrity.

2. The way you can memorize the words to a song after hearing it twice.

3. Your eyes.

4. Your passion for the ocean.

5. Your devotion to me.

6. The right hand corner of your mouth.

7. Your constant search for truth.

8. The way you play with Van.

9. Your hands.

10. Your ability to make me want to be better, even when it's hard.

11. The sausage and tomato pasta you make.

12. Your strong arms.

13. Your bottomless pit.

14. The jokes you tell, even when they shouldn't be told.

15. Your sexy crooked teeth.

16. Books

17. Your dedication to living...

18. understanding...

19. embodying the gospel.

20. The way you walk.

21. Laughing with you.

22. Your love for the natural world.

23. The fact that we have totally different aesthetics (and mine is better)

24. Your hand strengthening cruncher things.

25. Your recent addiction to chocolate milk.

26. Your tummy.

27. Your family.

28. Your thirst for knowledge of any kind.

29. Your willingness to wake up at 5 AM to go surfing in a blizzard.

30. Your voice.

31. Your opinions.

32. Come home and I'll tell you.

Let's see, did I miss anything?

How do you love GK?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Change We Can Believe In

Over the course of my love affair with my good man, I have kissed and cuddled various hairy incarnations.

When I first saw him on LDS Link-up (Something we are only now finding more endearing than horrifying) he looked like this:

Then when he came out to Denver to meet me (I mean fall in love with me) he looked like this:
When we got married he looked like this:Some could have argued I was a sucker for false advertising because after embracing his inner mountain-man (and some said unibomber) he looked like this:
He joined the ranks of the New York fashion-forward like this:

And now after being called to work in the temple and observe missionary grooming standards he thought about it for a minute:
And then he looked like this:Then this:Until he finally looked like this: I have loved him through all his transitions, but have to admit that I had forgotten how much I love his face.