Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Eli discovered gum today

I did not intend to highlight magnificent dental products two posts in a row; I also didn't intend for this week of blog posts to be a study in Eli's misbehaviors. Fortunately for him, he is not old enough to be accountable to Santa yet. I was doing laundry and started hearing Eli saying "Mmmhh!" in his room. I walked in, and found him sitting on the floor along with all of the contents of my diaper bag, which I am still trying to figure out how he got down from a very tall bar stool in my kitchen. He had emptied the last four pieces of gum out of the box and bitten off the top half of all four pieces, wrapper and all. Good thing it was Trident Xtra Care: if he happened to chew it at all before he swallowed it, the stuff is excellent for your teeth; if not, they are relatively small pieces and I am sure the wrapper contains fiber.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Eli put my toothbrush in the fireplace tonight

Not just any toothbrush, my awesome Nimbus toothbrush. It has soot all over it but I don't want to throw it away because I love it. I might use it anyway guys.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Eli's wildest dreams have come true

Santa brought Eli an Ipod touch. He doesn't know what it is, he doesn't know what it does, he just knows that it contains a wealth of amazing buttons which do really cool things when repeatedly touched. He looks at us, looks at the Ipod, grins, laughs, and goes "HA!" And we like it because it is not a phone which he can break or a device from which to accidentally call 911 or obscure acquaintances. I have never seen a child so thrilled as when we showed it to him...we didn't realize it was going to be his, but he quickly commandeered it just as he has done to all of the phones, remotes and everything we own with buttons. I suppose we should have known.

Adam had an extra X-box that he listed on Craigslist, which by the way is my favorite hobby right now...maybe it is just that we need extra Christmas money, but I also love walking around my house and finding things that I don't need or use and getting rid of them. So we had a lot of people interested but one kid wanted to trade his Ipod touch for the Xbox. While doing so involved a few sketchy details, such as meeting a high school teenager at a Riverside Walmart at 10:30 on a Friday night...what?? Yeah, I thought my husband might get shot. Nevertheless, he is alive and now Eli is the happiest child. And so are we, because it is going to mean a much smoother, pleasant and less complicated drive to Utah.

Also, it has finally cooled off and is now raining here, which means I can finally turn on my fireplace and enjoy it, which means Duane sits in front of it all day long, which means Eli has to lay down with him if we wants to hang out with him, which he does because they love each other, which makes me love both of them.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Someone tried to steal my George Foreman grill

which subsequently resulted in my husband triumphantly brandishing his machete. Oh, we thought, and hoped, the day would never come. Nevertheless, at approximately 2400 hours, we were abruptly awakened by a loud crash in our kitchen. We both sat straight up in bed, looked at each other with a frightened "What the hell was that?" face and contemplated the scary thought of someone, again, stealing (or worse) our possessions. I proceeded to pull the covers over my face while Adam snuck quietly out of bed and reached up inside the closet for his cherished weapon. Amazingly enough, through my terror, I was able to conceive the thought that Adam must be thinking that this was at least a little bit cool...which, he later confirmed, was true; I also remember thinking, "holy crap, this is taking entirely too long for him to get his sword and confront the intruder," which he also later confirmed was true. So Adam in his g's and I in my robe crept slowly and quietly through our long hallway expecting to meet we knew not whom in our violated kitchen. When we arrived, we found not a robber but a cracked George Foreman grill resting helplessly on the edge of our counter top. Don't worry, it still works, despite the random five foot fall from the top shelf. All is well. I love my lean mean fat reducing grilling machine so don't anyone else think of messing with it.

Oh, and Duane and Eli slept through the whole thing. I hope that Duane is a somewhat more useful guard dog in case of a real break in.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Weekend(s) report...been a while

Weekend 1: Camping at Joshua tree-mostly successful...Eli was only happy on our hike when we let him get out of the backpack and walk Duane up the mountain. But he slept the whole night so it was a decent trade off.

Weekend 2:
-Lakers game sans Eli/con Adam's mission president: Awesome. Twenty five bucks to park folks! It was worth it though to brush up on all of the old mission stories... and watch the Lakers.
-Baptism of 3 new investigators: Very nice. Welcome to our ward Barstow family and thank you for allowing us the honor of participating in your conversion.
-Holy War: Awful. How often can the loss of any sports game really be attributed to the bonehead plays of one person? I'm eagerly awaiting the announcement of all of the bowl games...good luck to Utah. Bring home the bucks to the Mountain West.
-Twilight by myself: Decent. I think most of the freaks saw it the night before so at least there wasn't any EEeek!!ing. I liked it slightly better than the book because the level of cheese was at least tolerable.

And here are some stolen pictures from Thanksgiving:

We are lame and forgot our camera. So we didn't take any cool pictures of ME SHOOTING A GUN or going to the Jazz game. It's always a good time when the Burrs get together...certain members of the family are very good at letting us know when things are decidedly unfun, therefore, we are almost always doing things that are fun. Aside from the airport delays on the way home, we had a very relaxing and refreshingly cold weekend in Utah eating, shooting, running, watching and playing football and playing Scattergories with cheating Steve Allred.
I don't need to tell anyone who lives away from home what a wonderful feeling it is to watch your parents and in laws play with your kids. You watch, not realizing how long you have been standing there smiling until your mouth starts to hurt. I love that. I am thankful for two sets of parents who just adore my crazy little boy as much as I do. And I am thankful to all yall who read my blog; I have earned almost six dollars this year, which is coming in increasingly more handy everyday.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hurry! Quick!

Everyone go out and buy a Ford so we don't have to pay for another bailout! Do it for your country. I dare you.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Probably only funny to family

Shoot, I wish I had the picture of Adam at Lake Powell with a lizard biting/hanging off his nipple. This little Nicaraguan baby lizard is the best I could do.

So any of you are who not well acquainted with Adam's creepily erudite understanding of all things lizard will probably not appreciate this video; but show it to your kids because they might. I am so very, like seriously so blessed very, thankful for YouTube. It is the closest thing I get to having my child sit still. The second Adam gets home, Eli starts jumping up and down and reaching for the computer. No kiss, no "hi dad." He wants the Iguana song or the Elephant song. They are both cute but anyone who understands a little bit about Adam (which, congratulations if you do) will understand why Adam is so willing to sit down and watch YouTube...I think Adam created this song in a former life just so that he could teach his son about iguanas.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Another political rambling. Sorry Eli.

I have been told that sometimes my ramblings are just too much. I will try really hard to be brief.

I told you about the ACLU. They couldn't even wait 24 hours to file a lawsuit. This one says that Prop 8 was illegally placed on the ballot, that it could not go directly onto the ballot without going through the legislature...interesting timing. Oh well. They would have had some wronged couple for whom to file a suit against some church had it not passed, so I suppose this is better. Freaking ACLU.

I think there are several really great reasons to celebrate, to say nothing of ACCEPT, HONOR or just NOT RIDICULE, our new president aside from the obvious:

1-I woke up Wed morning and read all kinds of articles about the celebrations going on around the world. While there are definitely nations whose support I think we are better off without, we desperately need to kiss and make up with many others. John McCain could never, even if he had enacted policies with which everyone in the world agreed for eight years, have repaired relations so seamlessly. We'll see what happens, but I think that is a definite benefit. I think, and have always thought, that Obama has it right on foreign policy.
2-There has never been a more democratic, meaning real cliche "voice of the people spoken" election. 82% of LA county voted. That is astounding. Young people actually voted. That is astounding.
3-The Republicans need a break from power. The people in power have thoroughly exhausted their competence, reputations and identities. The GOP needs to regroup, rebuild, redefine and step out of the center of attack for the next few years. And fortunately, the democrats did not attain a commanding lead in the Senate; factor that in with the fact that the economy sucks, and there is a slim to no chance that either his disastrous tax or health care plan will pass. At least not in the immediate future.
4-The two justices likely to retire, Stevens and Ginsburg, in Obama's term are extremely liberal. I realize he can still stack the lower courts. But the ultimate balance of power in the highest Supreme Court is unlikely to change.

I don't care if you don't agree with any of my aforementioned silver linings. If you do, great. EITHER WAY: He is our new president, so line up America.

I'm not so optimistic about the endurance of Prop 8. It was a good fight, one which I was hopeful to see come to an end. I wish we could have at least had a honeymoon period where we could stop talking about it. Freaking ACLU.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Why is that stupid song playing on my blog? How do I take it off?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween and Hallowiener

Hi, my name is Eli and my mom has severely neglected me on this blog, despite the fact that my very existence is responsible for its creation. So, I have taken it upon myself to post a ton of pictures of myself to help realign the priorities here.

Mine and Hailey's pre-Halloween dress up party

I was told more than once that I should have won a prize for "Most appropriate Halloween costume." While this was the very reason my mother selected my costume, she wasn't quite sure how she felt about the implications of the remarks...

Duane did not like his costume very much. He also did not appreciate being repeatedly pitchforked over the week of Halloween festivities.

And here are the rest, which I have conveniently placed in slideshow form for your viewing pleasure.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Proposition 8: Closing arguments

The day is drawing near and I will, frankly, be elated when this election which has gone on far too long, even for my liking, finally comes to an end. As it stands, McCain has an impossible hole to climb out of. I am intrigued for what comes next with President Obama and his no doubt dynamic cabinet. But since he has no bearing on the all important Proposition 8 (yet), I move on.
Kevin requested a Constitutional citation for my loose claim that "the rights of individuals and minorities end where they begin to infringe upon the rights of the majority." Schenk vs. United States was the original inspiration for that comment, as I recalled from my Political Science courses. Note: the overall premise of this case has largely been discredited. I bring up a specific comment from the case only as a contextual reference, not to substantiate my claim. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote the opinion for the case, making this hallmark claim:
"The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic. [...] The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent."
Since the Prop 8 debate revolves largely around weighty issues pertaining to the first amendment that is where I will turn to substantiate my claim:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
Now, here is where the two relate. Holmes' statement, while no longer the basis for sound restriction of first amendment freedoms, highlights a common misinterpretation about our most controversial bill of right. And that is that it does not in fact grant anything, but rather prohibits Congress from encroaching on liberties that already fundamentally exist. Ultimately and inevitably, our so called inalienable rights come into conflict with one another in ways that neither the Constitution nor hundreds of Supreme Court cases can viably or consistently answer. When this happens, as in the current clash over Prop 8, it is not the government's job to guarantee rights to any group, as opponents of Prop 8 erroneously assert. It is the job of government to prevent infringement upon rights as little as possible.
As there is no tangible difference in the State Constitution of California between a civil union and a homosexual marriage, the defining of marriage between only man and woman would do nothing to take rights away from homosexuals; however, it does everything to protect churches and parents from having their rights infringed upon…If Prop 8 does not pass, the rights of churches and individuals to maintain a moral stance against homosexuality is threatened. So, I hate to be the bad guy here and assert that the Constitution just can't provide rights to everyone, but I'm sorry. That is not its job. In this case, where two groups conflict with one another, the Constitutional test of encroaching as little as possible should default to the majority because the minority’s rights are not affected. That is what I meant when I said that the rights of minorities and individuals end where the rights of the majority are infringed: since the Constitution cannot grant individuals’ rights, the most imperative role of the first amendment is to encroach on the rights of as few people as possible.
Passing Prop 8 does not encroach on anyone’s rights because the right for homosexuals to marry has never existed in the first place, and they have all the same rights as a married couple in a domestic partnership anyway. If it doesn’t pass, the fact that the ACLU exists all but guarantees that churches and individuals wanting to maintain a moral stance against homosexuality will have their rights challenged by the government. It would take one teeny tiny little massive lawsuit going to the federal Supreme Court to eradicate the so-called religious protection granted by the California Supreme Court. If you don’t believe the ACLU has plans for that very thing, read here for a long list of court cases where such has already occurred around the country-and this is not an LDS sponsored article. It was done by NPR.
It has been suggested that, “ideally, we should grant the equality to same-sex couples now, and then, if circumstances necessitate, similarly fight for groups, religious and otherwise, who have their own rights challenged…” Right. I feel really great about that with the ACLU at the helm. I am about as confident that they will fight against homosexuals to protect religious and parental freedoms as I am that John McCain will be our next president.
The real problem between these two factions is that of criterion. When I was on the debate team in high school, every case I argued began with a criterion value. People don’t understand much less begin to agree, until they at least start from the same basic premise. Even within our own ranks we are arguing from different vantage points and that has been the real stimulus for contention. I guess that some of us are operating from the same value stance of rights, but ultimately it comes back to moral paradigms. And too few of us are operating from the same one: we each think that protecting the rights of our own group is more morally sound or important, which ultimately proves my point that the Constitution simply cannot, nor should it try, to give rights to a group which threatens the rights of another.
I can make plenty of good arguments as to why Prop 8 should pass on legal and logical grounds. Frankly, after I have spent so much time reading and researching those reasons, I actually think the very best one, and most simple, is that 47 out of 50 states agree that homosexual marriage should not be allowed, as do both of our presidential candidates. But that doesn’t help convince any of the 10% of undecided people who will ultimately make this decision. I hope that you fence sitters have done your research. Hopefully you will conclude that giving rights of marriage to homosexuals is not only not the responsibility of the Constitution, but the implications thereof are far too threatening to the rights of parents and churches for the Constitution to feasibly protect.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ewi's twue wove-Part two

I need a break from Prop 8...but I still owe Kevin a response. I am working on it Kevin. We have been busy and gone. But I didn't forget, no no. As a prelude to my upcoming response, I suppose you should refer back to Shannon and Blogdor's comments on your blog.

This post, however, is dedicated solely to Hailey and Eli. I hope we get to use all of these cute pictures in a wedding video or something someday, even though I think that wedding videos are mostly stupid.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thank you Prop 8 supporters

I just wanted to reiterate my support for Proposition 8 and thank the people and powerful organizations who have donated time, money and reputation to the messy cause. I also wanted to restate my main reason for supporting the Constitutional amendment: Parental rights.

While I may believe in the sacredness of marriage, traditional values, the superiority of two different gendered parent households and everything associated with the moral and religious argument, I am thoroughly convinced that if we want to make a convincing argument to people who are not sure about what they believe, then we have to articulate our argument from a starting point on which both sides fundamentally agree: rights. Not just morality. Both sides do not agree, obviously, that homosexuality is morally wrong. So we need to go farther than just reasserting over and over again that it is God's will that traditional marriage remain between man and woman; we cannot convince people who do not necessarily believe so that gay marriage would be bad for society- precisely in a tense and tight fight where undecided people are the votes we need to pass this amendment.

The NO side has figured out this tactic of starting from a premise with which the YES side already fundamentally agrees. They have adopted a "family values" argument, attempting to appeal to people like us who care about family and children with this commercial. So, unfortunately, in like manner, our side has got to start convincing people who operate from the criterion value of "personal rights" and "Constitutional authority" rather than strictly "morality" and "traditional values." We have got to start operating more efficiently because this argument is far deeper, and far more complex than a strictly moral argument can handle.

Pepperdine University recently put out a commercial in support of Proposition 8. They have had a wave of hate mail for doing so. I was encouraged by a fellow ward member to send them a thank you to help diffuse the hatred. I am making it public here:

Dear friends of Prop 8,

I am certain that you have been more than inundated with hate mail which accuses you of the grossest prejudicial atrocities; the thank yous may be few and far between for work on the commercial you supported. Whether people are religiously opposed to gay marriage, or just understand the implications of its legalization for the rights of parents and churches, we need more help from powerful organizations, like yours, who are willing to put their reputations on the line for a very difficult and complicated fight. And in the midst of the backlash, I presume that even you yourselves may question your endorsement of the commercial for Proposition 8 in which Richard Peterson appeared.

So I just want to iterate mine and my husband's gratitude for that decision. We have been actively involved in the campaign for Proposition 8, knocking on doors, blogging and making phone calls to help people understand what the issue is really about: Parental rights. Not gay rights. The rights of homosexuals are such a non issue in this campaign, as the recognition of a homosexual "marriage" awards no other right that a domestic partnership does not . What it does do, however, is force churches and parents to equate homosexual companionships with hetero ones, or face the loss of tax subsidies and parental control over what children are taught in public schools about homosexuality.

So thank you for your support, especially being part of the legal community; there are not enough members therein who have not been tainted by the gay community's hijacking of the civil rights argument. Thank you, thank you. I recognize that it may have and continue to cost you dearly.

Ashely, Adam and Eli Burr

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Dear ants who have been invading my house:
Please stop. Take your colony elsewhere. I have literally put everything sweet from my pantry into my fridge. There is nothing left for you here. Move on. And to somewhere else besides my garage, please. Duane's food is also off limits. I am now holding you personally responsible for the theft of my Ipod.

Dear Thief:
Bring it back please. It was the fault of the aforementioned ants that the garage was left open all night; because of their intrusion into Duane's food, we had moved the fifty pound bag outside so that we could attack the colony without poisoning the dog's food. Unfortunately, we neglected to bring it back in and close the garage. And I realize that it was fairly stupid for us to leave the windows to our car rolled down, with the Ipod inside. But come on. Just give it back.

I suppose I should thank you for not stealing our car, since the keys were in the ignition. And for not taking the motorcycle. Also, for not coming into my house through the unlocked garage door and stealing mine or my husband's wallet which was sitting right inside the kitchen. All right, fine. Keep the Ipod. Just don't ever come into my garage again since we are apparently incapable of securing our belongings. And just so you know, Mr. or Mrs. Ipod thief, Adam sleeps with a machete under his pillow and we have a fierce wiener dog who does not take too kindly to strangers. Just in case you were thinking of returning.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Camping and the not so very much of a break-a week late of course

We spent a busy what was supposed to be Sept. break week painting, Eli proofing (again) the house and doing mundane things like laundry; Eli helps me by getting in the basket and throwing the clothes out in between throwing the tennis ball to Duane. Adam mostly had to do a lot of boring orientation stuff and I mostly had to work everyday. So it wasn't very breaky. But we did go camping on the beach, which meant surfing a little bit. So that was good. Eli and Hailey had a blast. Ashley Spencer actually let her kid get dirty; and once Hailey had the go ahead from her mother, Eli taught her some of his tricks like piling dirt on the chairs, running recklessly into the street and ocean, and climbing on things that say "Keep Off."

Ashley Spencer says that she does not like to camp; I have evidence to the contrary:

I know I need to blog about the debate. I don't have much to say other than that I really can't listen to any of them, any four of them, without cringing at some point in the discourse. I'll deal with this later.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Random thoughts due to my severe blog neglect in recent months:
1-My testimony of blogging is obviously struggling. I have grown rather disenchanted with the whole operation.
2-I am working again. Wahoo. For a girl named Ashley, which reminds me: I have never met an Ashley I did not like. Is that a narcissistic coincidence or are we just all cool?
3-My son and husband went on a footballing/grandmaing weekend, leaving me completely ALONE for two whole days. So I went surfing by myself. As in, I went to the beach alone. It was everything above and beyond fabulous. I devoured a People magazine and a Diet Dr. Pepper and got washing machined by the waves. I fell asleep watching football on Saturday. And then I went and got a pedicure, which needs no detailing of its awesomeness, followed by a late night showing of Ghost Town. Please do yourself a favor and go see it. I do not recall a time in the recent past when I have laughed so hard. After the second day of trying to have a meaningful conversation with Duane and getting no response, I happily drove to the airport to pick up my brood and concluded that I am so happy I do not live alone all the time...but I won't lie, I had a delightful weekend. And so did they.
4-Does the Republican party even exist anymore? Let me get this straight: Hands off, laissez faire economics, no regulation, free market rules, bla bla bla...unless it gets really really really bad, and then we'll pump cajillions of dolla bills into the system and maybe still not stem off a depression. This is scary business. I am glad I am already poor and have no plans of being otherwise for at least three years. The one bright shining star of our rapidly collapsing economy is that the almost certain next President Obama will literally not have the resources to even suggest his disastrous universal health care or tax policy. Does anyone else think it is comical that our government seems to think that it can prevent things like hurricanes and economic(after ignoring the warning signs for years)downturns?
5-I am so happy that it is almost sweatshirt season. I so look forward to many upcoming Saturdays watching football in my sweats.
6-Someone told Adam that Eli was one of the most well behaved children that they had ever seen on a plane...I don't understand. Adam said he was unbelievably good. Obviously I am happy that he was nice for Adam, but...does anyone else understand why this sort of irks me? Maybe the kid has turned a behavioral corner and we will have more children BEFORE we abide in the Celestial Kingdom. Or maybe he only behaves when I am not present.
7-Sorry no pictures. Not like you read this far down anyway since there are no pictures.
8-Oh, and finally, why was I not the genius behind this gem? I can't believe this.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

We are officially done excursioning

The wedding is over, our sojourns are done. Thank you Ashley for ensuring that I was well dressed...when my sister saw me all fixed up for the dinner, she said, "Holy cow, who got you ready? Whose clothes are those?" What, like I am incapable of dressing myself....? Thanks Ashley. It was wonderful. And now that my sister is officially married, she has earned the right to begin the blog. I am still waiting for wedding pictures to come my way. Here are some of the slim pickings that I do have.

The following weekend we went to Mesa, AZ for a dental conference and to stay with my wicked awesome aunt Wendy, Nana Poof to Eli...we figured if he was going to spend a whole five days with someone that so closely resembled the authentic Nana, that said authentic Nana should get credit for spending time with him. So, Wendy has slightly, and by slightly, I mean greatly more, poofy hair than my own mother. Thus, Nana Poof she became. Eli wasn't quite sure about the whole deal. He would stare at her when we asked where Nana was, scowl for a minute, and then go break one of her large terracotta pots or picture frames....really I was quite surprised that we left the brand new gorgeous house with so little damage: only one broken pot, one broken picture frame, a small hole in the wall and a missing phone. Can you believe they invited us back to come play at their awesome pool and house? I can't. I guess we are just that cool. Here are some more admittedly bad pictures; we figured it was high time Eli learned to cliff jump.

Anyway, I am actually so excited to be back for good and get back to more important things, like following the elections religiously in between following my kid around the house and putting away things that he pulls out of places I didn't know he could knives and such. That kid...I am not the type who plans things like Halloween costumes months in advance, but he is definitely being a devil for Halloween-this much I know. Anyone have a red cape and devil horns I can borrow? Remember, we are poor.