Thursday, May 31, 2012

Our Canadian Family

Have you ever felt so at home and welcome with a group of people that they felt more like family than they did like friends? That feeling pretty much sums up the awesomeness of the U family's latest vacation.

Andrew, the kids and I embarked on our second Canadian road trip last week, and yet again Manitoba did not disappoint. Andrew has always considered the people we visited to be family and, after another year of invading their lives for an entire weekend, I can easily see why.

So here's a quick rundown of my favorite highlights of our Manitoba vacation:
1). The home-cooked food: Sharon's rhubarb dessert and brown bread, Andrew's chicken spaghettini, Orlan's buttered cake and truck apples, Lavonne's cream pies and shrimp and sweet biscuits and ham, Mavis' bean casserole, and the list goes on and on... Pretty sure the 5 lbs I lost pretrip will need to be re-lost.

2). The discussions: We talked about every hot button topic there was and managed to honestly share our opinions without arguing or offending one another at all. Religion, abortion, contraception, politics, family drama, work... You name it and we probably covered it. So awesome.

3). The laughs: when Orlan pulled anything that looked edible out of the freezer for breakfast only to find he had served us buttered toasted cake, we laughed. When Kev and Lavonne shared the silly stories of their grandkids and stories of their childhood, we laughed. When Mindy told us about the rocks in Dakota's crocs, we laughed. Watching their familial interactions, poking fun at each other, cracking silly jokes... We laughed and laughed and laughed.

4). The people: Orlan and Sharon, Andrew and Mindy, Kevin and Lavonne, Jed and Chris, Ryan and Barb, and all the other family and friends we spent time with on Sunday... Despite their differences and similarities they came together for a delicious meal and just made us feel right at home.

The temperature may not have reached higher than 50 degrees our entire trip, but the warmth and love we felt all around us more than made up for it. And now our kids our international travelers twice over.

Thanks Manitoba! You rock!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

It's all about integrity.

1. adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
2.the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished: to preserve the integrity of the empire.

The last few years of job transitions and medical craziness has taught me a lot of things. But something that I learned about myself is that one of the qualities I value most about other people and the quality that I strive to make most important in my life is INTEGRITY.

I posted a link on Facebook yesterday about how Georgetown University had invited Kathleen Sebelius to speak at one of their graduation ceremonies. I happened to mention that I thought it was pretty disgraceful that a Catholic university would invite someone who openly goes against this faith to speak in a place of honor. And, as is usual with my eclectic group of friends on FB, I got a bit of backlash.

"Colleges shouldn't be in the practice of banning speakers," they said. "Sebelius has done a lot of great things as well," they said.

Yeah... I get that. That's not really the point. The point for me as that I don't think our Secretary of Health has a great deal of integrity. And for that matter... neither does our VP... or Nancy Pelosi. And here's why:

If you are going to publicly profess what religion you are. If you are going to claim that you are a Buddhist, a Catholic, an Evangelical, a Mormon... or whatever... then you better actually BE and SUPPORT the beliefs of that particular religion. Don't say you're Catholic, and then go speak at a NARAL convention about how important it is that women should be able to kill their children if they so wish. Don't say you're Catholic and then engaged in a public disagreement with the leadership of your Church on how your new mandate isn't REALLY taking away their religious freedom.

That's not integrity. If you're going to profess a faith... then live it. LIVE IT OUT LOUD.

And I'm not saying that you can't question teachings or develop your own ideas about why you practice a certain faith... that's natural. It's human. It's a path to maturity.

But when you publicly deny some of the basic tenents of that faith that you "PROFESS", then maybe it's time to rethink why you're professing it in the first place.

As a person who gets the opportunity to vote for you, how am I to trust any value you stand on if I can't even trust they way you practice your relationship with God? It makes me question your integrity.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

6 years ago... a countdown

Sometimes when I get really really starved for entertainment and I somehow convince myself that I can afford to stop cleaning or cooking or playing with the kids, I allow myself to go back and look at what life was like X amount of years ago.  And since I've been blogging for almost 9 years (holy cow), it's really really easy for me to go back and check things out.

So, since Andrew and I will be celebrating our 6th wedding anniversary this coming Sunday, I thought I'd share some memories of us in the form of linking to old posts.  Let's start with some of the early relationship posts... they're so giddy and silly.  Can I also just say that I enjoy reading all of my crazy friends' comments almost as much as reading the posts themselves.  You people were very argumentative back in the day!  Have we all dulled in our older age??

1) Alien talk for "I'm in Love": (the comments are delightful!)

2) The boyfriend met the parents.

3) Ain't Love Grand?

Well... that takes you through the first 3 months of our relationship.  More fun to come tomorrow.