As most everyone knows, I'm always working on a project.  My projects are what give me energy.  I love being creative.  They can also wear me out when I'm up against a deadline.  I love making presents for Christmas.  This year, I underestimated how little Hank-free time I would have to quilt or work on stained glass.  I had to put in some major effort the few weeks before Christmas to finish a quilt for Calder and Starr and some stained glass ornaments.  I had so much fun.  Now that Christmas is over I'm moving on to working on new stained glass windows for our kitchen door and a crazy quilt.

I love decorating for Christmas.  I'm trying to stick to my goal of two boxes of ornaments (it used to be a goal of one box), so I keep it pretty simple. I love hanging glass balls off the chandelier in the dinning room.  This year, Wyatt helped pick out the colors he liked and handed them to me to put up.  He's so cute because he thought my decorations were "so beautiful".

This year we tried to figure out how to protect Hank from the tree and the tree from Hank.  Of course we turned to the internet for our research.  We decided to weigh the tree down with heavy rocks and then I put only kid safe ornaments in Hank's reach.  As you can see from this picture, he was very interested.  After a few days of him constantly undressing the part of the tree within his reach, I just left that part bare.

Here's sweet Wyatt.  He's such a good boy.  He made several adorable ornaments this year at pre-school and at an ornament party at a friend's house.  He's very proud of his art work.

I finished my stained glass class and this was my project.  It's pretty simple considering it took about 12 hrs of instruction to finish it, but we went over every step thoroughly.  My solder lines are beautiful.  

I made about 12 stained glass star ornaments for gifts.  They are so fun to make.  I could really spend a year making all different kinds and different colors.

I gave this quilt to Calder and Starr.  I put the top together initially and didn't like the color I used between the blocks, so I unpicked it and used unbleached muslin instead.  Since the quilt was going to family, I knew I would see it again and I had to love it.   I saw it on their brown couch when we left today and I think it suits their house well.

Here's the back of the quilt.  I did simple line quilting on it.

I don't post much about my journey back to my pre-pregnancy body but it's a big part of my life.  Sometimes I feel vain worrying about it, but I just don't feel like myself until I'm back in shape and I just can't give up.  After I had Wyatt, I was able to loose the weight, eventually, but I also had two months shorter of a pregnancy so less weight gain.  The last few months I've hovered between my last 5 to 10 lbs (I gained 60), so I'm officially taking it up a notch in order to bust through my plateau.

So I met with a trainer at the gym and she went over my workout plan and gave me some good advice.  She said it's 33% diet, 33% exercise, and 33% attitude.  I'm assuming the last 1% is magic or maybe patience.  Her pep talk helped and I feel like I can make it happen.  

So below is my workout schedule.  It may seem like a lot, but I actually really like it.  I've been going to the gym for a year now and I am so into it.  I always have a bit of an endorphin buzz and my kids just love the nursery.  We all win. So my workout week now goes something like this:

Monday: 1 hr spin class
Tuesday: run 3 miles
Wednesday: 1 hr chisel weight lifting class (free weights)
Thursday: 1 hr pilates class, 20 minutes cardio
Friday: heavy weights on machines, 20 minutes cardio
Saturday: run 3 miles
Sunday: rest

So as far as diet goes, I'm trying to keep it really healthy.  Good quality, organic, unprocessed foods, very little sugar and refined carbs (one in the same) and lots of fruits and vegetables.  So a typical day's meals could look like this.  The point is to eat healthy most of the time and then enjoy some deliciousness on special occasions.

breakfast: 1 egg, one egg white omelet with asparagus, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes, a pomegranate.

snack: sprouted grain bread with almond butter

lunch: salad made of spinach, romaine lettuce, red pepper, asparagus, turkey sausage,  snow peas, halved grapes, a sprinkle of feta cheese and a splash of watered down healthy dressing.

dinner: wild caught salmon, brown rice, broccoli and a few squares of 70% dark chocolate for dessert.

Willie doesn't mind the healthy eating because I send all holiday treats to work with him so he's got his own stash of cookies and candy.

I can do it.

Last weekend I went to Las Vegas for my cousin Laura's wedding.  Willie, Wyatt and Hank stayed home and I flew out to meet my mom, Travis, Calder and Starr.  It was such a fun vacation.  The day I left was stressful (packing, making cookies for an exchange, crying kids, messy house, etc).  After just sitting and waiting for my plane, knitting and listening to CNN, my stress lifted and I knew a weekend away would do me a lot of good.

We all shared a hotel room the first few nights, so we stayed up talking and reading.  My mom just finished the book Twilight the night I arrived and handed it over to me.  I had to put 100 years of Solitude on the backburner to check it out.  We'll after reading the whole thing in about a day or two and going to see the movie while we were there, I knew I'd never be the same.  

Here is my cousin Laura and her husband James.  They got married in the Las Vegas temple and had a reception at a beautiful golf course on the edge of the city.  Everything turned out wonderful and I loved spending time with my cousins.

Our first hotel was just off the strip and nice enough, but my mom and I stayed Sunday night at the Mirage.  It was really fun being in such a nice hotel (5 stars) and right on the strip.  We walked all round Sunday night looking at expensive shops.  I even tried on a ring at Tiffanys.  The sound of the busy streets, the smell of cigarets and all the people reminded me of London.

How could I not post a picture of Edward and Bella.  Frankly, I'd heard all the hype but I was a little hesitant to get into it.  Not because I'm a literary snob but for entirely different reasons.  I was so into Buffy the vampire Slayer, that I felt like no other vampire/mortal love story could offer me anything (I use the term mortal loosely for Buffy, she is the slayer).  I have never been so wrong.  Several times over the trip you could find me clutching the book to my heart.  I couldn't stop smiling.  It really brought out my inner school girl romantic.  I thought I could wait to see it again after it came out on DVD.  I now realize that would be impossible and I'm hoping to see it again this weekend.

Here's Travis and Calder busy texting on their iphone.  I found the iphone very handy for checking my email at a wedding reception, giving us directions and instantly googling something to satisfy curiosity or end an argument.  Willie is getting an iphone for Christmas.  It will be hard not to browse facebook at church.
Here's our fancy room at the Mirage.  Flat panel HD TV, granite countertops in the bathroom, high thread count sheets, and an ihome.  Nothing is as fun as a nice hotel for a Stratford.  It's a pivotal part of a vacation.  We even saw Giovanni Rivisi, Phoebe's brother on Friends, twice.  The second time he was with one of the Utah twins from Ocean's 11.  

Here we are at the reception.  I brought a silk shirt, knowing that I wouldn't have two kids putting sticky hands on me and rubbing snotty noses on my shoulder.  Even without my kids I managed to get two oil stains on it.

Here we are in the Parisian hotel.  In my head I'm wondering how long it will be until we find a place to sit down so I can keep reading Twilight.

Here's me reading twilight in another fancy casino while my mom is shopping. 

Even though my vacation was great, I was so glad to get home to my boys.  I started missing them all my first night.  They had so much fun while I was gone.  They went to the library, the park, a ward party, a movie, a road trip to Fruita (20 mins away), and ate cookies and candy galore.  

Willie's family has come to our house for thanksgiving for the last four years. I look forward to this tradition every year. It's fun to look back on the last four years and see how things have changed and the things i've learned. The first year, I was fairly new to cooking and it was my first thanksgiving. I used Martha Stewarts thanksgiving 101 issue. I've learned since then to keep it simple. No more peeling chestnuts or cutting up bread to make my own stuffing. The boxed stuffing is still really good. I also have learned that a good plan makes all the difference, it's important to wear supportive shoes while standing around in the kitchen, and use all willing volunteers. I think this year was our best thanksgiving meal yet.

Willie and I stayed up late several nights before everyone got here working on projects. Something I learned from this thanksgiving is to not get sleep deprived before the whole event even starts. Next time I'll go to bed early for a week straight before so I can stay up late talking, and not have to worry about exhaustion.

The day after thanksgiving tradition is to go on a hike. i love this tradition. We went to Colorado National Monument and after a day of rain, it was cool and wet and smelled wonderful. There were clouds at the top of the canyon. When Wyatt saw all the fog he said that when he got out of the car he'd get clouds in his mouth.

Friday night we had another big meal, and some neighbors came over. The 17th street band then gave an intimate concert in our family room. 

Unfortunately, the stomach flu went around and I cleaned up my fair share of throw up from Hank and Willie got it Friday night (thank goodness adults can throw up in the toilet). Willie's sister Sara's family got it Friday night too. I'm just so glad I didn't get it, at least not yet. I didn't get to take many pictures so I had to poach some off Kathy and Sarah's blogs.

A beautiful table is a must for me.  I made this table cloth the first year we hosted thanksgiving to fit our table with all it's leaves in.  I'm so glad we bought this table with our house.  We use it often to have big meals.  It's so long!

I thought it was funny that Wyatt is sitting at the head of the table.  He's so small all the way down there.

Here's the band.  A bonus to my other shirt getting thrown up on by Hank, is that I changed into a nice cowboy shirt for our performance.

Here are the boys at the rim of the monument.  In the back is Willie, his brother Adam, his brother-in-law Tyler, and his dad David.  In the front is Wyatt and his cousin Simon.

Here is wyatt with ellen and Charlotte. Wyatt loves cousins.  He was playing constantly with them.

Sarah took this great picture of the cliff dissolving in to the fog.  What a pretty place.  

Yes, both of these pictures are a stone's throw from our house.  Well, if you had a canon to throw the stone with, but still they are close enough for us to enjoy regularly. I'm not quite sure how it happened, but the desert is part of who I am.  I love it.  I can't leave it.  Maybe it's a collective experience of childhood vacations to Palm Springs, my childhood homes by rock Camp and the back side of the mountain, backpacking trips in Southern Utah, soaking in the hot springs at Pah Tempe and hiking in Zion National Park, etc. 

I think I realized this all when Willie and I lived in Massachusetts for a year. Below is an excerpt from my journal.  It wasn't long after I wrote this that I told Willie I saw the eyes of a coyote glowing in the tunnel of the T on my way to work.  That's when he knew it was time to get me back West.

8/20/01: The other night at dinner we ate overlooking the harbor in Salem.  It was a humid night and I'd already taken a few cold showers.  We got on the subject of Utah.  I told Kim how I missed the desert.  It sounded weird.  I wondered if she pictured a suburb outside of Vegas.  I tried to tell her about the nights in Southern Utah: lying on my back , the silence, the red rocks, and the stars.  Tons of stars.  Layer over layer of brilliant stars.  Anyway, the subject changed to chapped lips or something and I was left with this huge emptiness.  

My sister-in-law Sara, has had a thankfulfest on her blog and inspired me to do the same in honor of one of my favorite holidays, Thanksgiving.  After just finishing playing guitar and singing with Willie for the past few hours, I have to say I'm thankful for music.  My beginnings as a musician were rough.  I remember before my mission trying to practice a song with my sister Amy for Travis's mission farewell.  I ended up breaking down in tears because I was trying to sing harmony and I could not hold a note.  My sweet Aunt Marilyn was trying so hard to encourage me.

I'm thankful that after our trip to the Republic of Georgia, where I was inspired by their folk music, my friend Kakha helped me pick out my first guitar and it stuck.  It was a pretty decent acoustic Ibanez that I sold to my dad.  I'm so glad that soon after I married Willie (such an accomplished musician), we splurged on a handmade Ken Stika (no. 52) guitar for me.  Every time I play it, I'm so happy we bought it becuase I could never justify the expense now.  I don't play guitar much anymore because I'm always playing bass, but I just love sitting down and playing a beautiful guitar with Willie on the fiddle or mandolin and us singing harmony.  It's the good life.  

I don't just love playing music, I love listening to music.  I love live music, especially outdoors.  I love playing on the back porch.  I love the hymns.  I'm so thankful music is part of my everyday life.

This morning Hank and I were in my room listening to Terri Gross interview Bill Ayers on NPR. I was so interested, curious, and a little disturbed and I thought to myself, I should read his book. Just as I thought that, I turned and saw the pile of books I'm currently reading sitting next to my bed. I think I'll start a list of books I might want to read in the future and work on this pile for now. I really only get a little bit of undisturbed reading time before bed, so things are moving pretty slowly.

I have a strong non-fiction addiction but I'm in a book club that's helping with that. This month the book is Freakonomics, but mostly we read fiction.

The Scriptures are a spiritual staple, the words of life. They will always be on the pile.

Your Money or Your Life and Sink Reflections are re-reads.

Your Money or Your Life inspired Willie and I shortly after we got married to not let our life be about the persuit of money but be very wise with what we have. I like to check back in from time to time to get motivated and not mindlessly spend our money. Lately I've wanted to spend more of our money (that Willie and I have traded our life energy for) on healthy food and give away more to good causes. This is such a good book.

To improve my job training for being a homemaker, I'm rereading Sink Reflections. This is a cheesy book, with clip art and such, but the principles are really good. It's about accomplishing things, like a clean, well organized home (without a housekeeper) by little daily routines carried out consistenlty.

Willie bought me The Omnivores Dilemma, after I read Pollan's recent book, In Defense of Food and went bonkers for it.

My sister Amy, lives in Washington DC. She is always asking me to come out and visit. The last time we visited is when I was pregnant with Wyatt. Since we have been throwing all our extra money on to our credit card to get out of all consumer debt by the end of the year (just school loans and mortgage left), we couldn't put the money towards plane tickets. So Amy finally wanted us to come so bad, she and Brian offered to buy our plane tickets. Talk about generous.

So I flew out first with Wyatt and Hank and Willie came a few days later. It was a little stressful and I found myself praying for coping power several times, but we made it. I think the hardest part was when I couldn't have the stroller, like going through security and on the plane. I had to put Hank on the ground to get the stroller through security and he was taking off crawling behind the security desk. It was a little crazy. On the plane I had a hard time getting my seatbelt on with one hand and things like that. I eventually found that I could put Hank on Wyatt's lap and tell him to hold on tight and I could get my seat-belt on or get our luggage from the overhead compartment. Wyatt was a wonderful traveler. He took a nap on our second flight and so did Hank. I couldn't reach my headphones and when both of them were sleeping I thought I would watch TV. I would try to get Wyatt's headphones off and he would stir and pull them back on.

Once we arrived at Amy's house it was only fun from there on out. Our beautiful guest room had little snacks and water by each of our beds. When I went to bed that night I saw that all the snacks were gone and I was afraid Wyatt had eaten them all. I found them all stashed in our suitcase, display plates and all. Wyatt wanted to makes sure we could take them with us. He recently admitted that he wanted to eat them all but couldn't get the packages open.
Amy's house is recently remodeled and beautiful. It's so classy, down to every detail and impeccably clean. Amy and Brian have a nanny from Ethiopia named Genet. She is the nicest lady and part of the family. She gave me some Ethiopian food cooking lessons, helped care for my kids so I could nap or go running. We went to the zoo, the natural history museum, a pumpkin patch and on many walks. I tried to pull my weight by baking for Amy and Brian. I made a batch of sugar cookies, a pear pie, and a pumpkin Pie. When willie arrived, he cooked a few wonderful meals to show our gratitude. Amy has great potential as a cook, but has not blossomed in that area yet. I tried to give some encouragement and guidance. I helped her decide to get new plates instead of a Le Creuset dutch oven and to finally get a food processor.

Amy on the other hand, gave me advice on clothes. She declared that I should never wear another pair of jeans that are low-rise unless my stomach was totally flat. I now see the light and hold a grudge against the Gap and Old Navy for only selling jeans for kids. She put makeup on me and offered some other fashion tips. She offered me a pair of Italian super pointy high high heels. Her feet grew after Vera was born. I haven't worn high heels (if you don't count Danskos) since my mission. I wore them to church and was nauseous because of the pain. That's something I can not do to myself, not even in the name of fashion. After barely making it home from church alive I put them back in her give away pile for someone else that had a higher tolerance for fashion pain. I did come home with a pair of brown high heels that are relatively more comfortable, as far as high heels go.

A major highlight was inheriting a huge amount of great clothes. I had Willie bring my gym bag thinking that would get them home. Oh how narrow was my thinking. I ended up having to borrow a huge suitcase that would easily fit Hank, Wyatt and our cat and maybe vera and Ella too. Full of great clothes. Genet also sent us home with a lot of Ethiopian food. I had plans of sharing the food with neighbors and friends but decided to hoard it once i got home. It's so good.

One thing I really like about Amy is that she enjoys the luxuries of life, which I usually opt out of. So while I was there, she made sure I had an hour massage and a pedicure. The last time I paid for a pedicure was the day Willie accepted his job here in Grand Junction. I was sure we had finally made it and we would be rich from that day forward. I had underestimated the cost of owning a house, paying for utilities, having two kids, and repaying student loans.

The kids had so much fun playing together. Wyatt learned all about princesses and Amy learned how little boys can get into everything. the first day we were there I noticed that Amy had an art easel out with some paints. I wondered how she kept her girls from spreading paint all over the room. It wasn't two minutes after that that I saw Hank get the lid off the paint and put his hand down into it. The first night all four kids took a bath. After that we realized we should bathe in shifts. It was a little much. By the time we left, if you offered Wyatt a curious George fruit snack and a princess one, he definitely preferred the princess one. I couldn't resist putting Hank in a cute tutu I found. Ella's and Vera's girly things are so much fun.
Willie and i got to go out several times by ourselves. We went to a movie and over for dessert at Seth and Christi Lucia's house, some friends from law school. Amy and Brian have a car with a GPS navigator, so it tells you where to go and then helps you get home. Thank goodness for that computer lady. Without her we'd be very lost.
Even though we had a wonderful time and I cried saying goodbye to Amy at the airport, it was great to be home. I had a few days of obsessing about renovations we could do to our house, but I'm kind of over that and back focused on finishing out the year of the debt. It was so fun to be in a city and be with family and have our kids play together. We talked a lot, worked on laptops while watching TV (a Stratford family tradition) and ate our meals together. When we were leaving Wyatt asked if the next time we come back we can stay for 100 days.

Here is a video of Hank practicing walking. It is so cute. It won't be long until he gives up crawling completely. He's just such a fast crawler. Today I put him down for his second nap and he just whined and chatted and never fell asleep. So I went in to get him and rocked him a bit and cuddled him. Then he scooted off my lap and crawled about 50 MPH out of the room in an attempt to get out of the nap completely.

I still have to blog about our trip to DC. I have so many pictures to sort through, that I haven't pulled it together yet. If you want a sneak peak, you can check out my sister's blog. We had so much fun. Wyatt said next time he wanted to stay 100 days. I agree.

As for my feelings, they are back. If you didn't know, I've had severe post pardum depression with both of my kids. I took antidepressants for about a year after each pregnancy. I am so thankful for whoever invented this medication. It has rescued/saved me and my family from some really hard times. With that said, both times I've been glad to stop taking it and have my full spectrum of feelings back.

Yesterday Wyatt and I were watching a show on animal planet about a woman who's group cared for an injured ape and its brand new baby. The baby was very ill and they nursed it back to health. Wyatt was very concerned because the baby had a broken arm and was wearing a cast. So once the baby ape and mother were well, they tried to reunite the mother and baby. The baby had bonded to the doctor that had nursed it back to health, and the mother ape's milk had dried up from the trauma and separation. The baby ape cried all night and wouldn't eat. The doctor cried too. Anyway, all this to say, I was in tears. Watching this I had so much love for my children and the chance I have to be a mother through the good and the bad. It felt wonderful to feel again. And yes, the mother ape and baby were successfully reunited

September was a party month at the DeFords.  Here are some pictures to give you a feel for the festivities.

This is my neighborhood birthday dinner.  My neighbor Jenny made delicious fajitas, I made a lemon cake, we had a pinata, and enjoyed hanging out.  Willie set up a projector and we watched a movie on the side of our garage and had a fire in the fall night.   

Wyatt was so excited for his birthday.  We had a cake on  his actual birthday and we had a birthday party the Saturday after. Wyatt's party was great.  He had been asking for some walkie-talkies for months and that's what he got.  
Hank got a cookie for his birthday and since my and Willie's anniversary is the same day, he got the short end of the stick this year.  He didn't seem to care and he actually didn't eat the whole cookie.  Wyatt had a baby food cake for his birthday so I've really loosened up by giving Hank a cookie, it was packed with oatmeal and oat bran and raisins to help boost the healthy factor.

For my birthday Willie bought me a stained glass grinder to complete my stained glass studio.  We had a great time painting the workshop and organizing all the tools.  This has turned out to be a wonderful place for me to escape to.  I see it including tools for jewelry making, fusing glass, glass beads and possibly ceramics in the future.  Willie is so supportive of my projects and creations.  I'm so lucky.

Here's Wyatt in the shop.
I have made several stained glass stars to start practicing my skills.  I have them hanging here in the kitchen. I'm signed up for a stained glass class that starts next week.  I'm so interested in glass right now.  I want to find a way to recycle glass.  I have some beautiful wine bottles from my neighbors in the shop.  I may make some vases or drinking glasses.

Here is the 17th street band playing at the Grand Junction independence film festival, right before they had an outdoor movie. Nancy Rizzo who lives on 17th street and is a wonderful photographer took this picture. Things have really picked up for the band this month. We are having a great time playing around town. We got to play at the botanic garden outdoor theatre, live on KAFM, at a wedding in Ridgeway and at a black box theater after a play. Someone paid $500 as a pledge to the community radio station (KAFM) for us to play a gig for them. We are trying to get some good recordings of our songs so I can post them.

Here's Hank eating a tomato on the back porch.

Wyatt is having such a great time at preschool. One day I picked him up and he was wearing these "jet packs". He was flying all around and shooting out of the one on his arm. I love to see him using his imagination. I really like this preschool.

Wyatt tells us endless stories about his imaginary friend named Wyatt (it can get confusing) like, his friend Wyatt has 5 cats with braces, a car seat with jet packs, he just had a baby named Hank, he works in a cheese factory, he has 100 kids named Wyatt that died and just came back to life. His friend Wyatt also has a car that turns into a helicopter, he was recently baptized Mormon and before that he drank coffee. Once he said we couldn't go to the gym because his friend Wyatt was still sleeping. I suggested we call a babysitter (confirming how imaginary this friend was) and he laughed and said, "mom, he's not real".

Notice all the tomatoes behind him. I'm planting even less tomatoes next year.

Here is the garden overtaken by tomatoes. Yet another season of an overgrown but very productive garden.

This is our first season of grapes. Our vine is a couple years old. They are seedless concord grapes.

Our eggplant has been wonderful. I just love eggplant.

I love all my flowers. It's great having arrangements like this around the house all the time.

We got to pick a few boxes of free peaches from a friend of a friends orchard. We canned and froze them and constantly ate them but a few still wen to waste.

This subject has been on my mind for a while now. I normally don’t write about issues, but maybe that’s starting to change. Anyway, politics. I came into politics when I met Willie. He got me excited about it and I found an attractive intensity in him that reminded me of Marius Pon Merci from Les Miserables. I do remember when I was a kid I was a little confused between church leaders and Republican presidents. Once I even called Ducakis “Dukaka” to defend the Republican party of my family and my church. What I didn’t know about politics was a lot.

I still don’t confess to be any kind of expert but my personality and heart is interested less in big businesses and trickle down economics and more in caring for our poor, improving education, health care, the environment, etc. So you Republicans reading this are already thinking, What? Not Sally. As my dad says, “I don’t know what we did to have all four of our kids become liberals.” I like to remind any Mormon readers jumping to horrible stereotypes to remember President Foust was a Democrat and active member of the ACLU. Plus our church is politically neutral.

Today at Wal-Mart (Wal-Mart haters can gasp here), after a long shopping trip with a lame cart, I got out to the parking lot ready to unload and Hank’s foot was caught in a slot of the shopping cart. This happened last time and I just gave a firm push and it came out. Not today. He either got fatter in a week or my angle was all wrong but his ankle started to swell. There was no way I was going to get it out. Hank was screaming and I was about to try to find help when an older couple stopped by to see if they could help. Then another couple (both sets grandparents) then two men and finally about three Wal-Mart employees. I could not believe how many people stopped to help. Someone was holding up a sun shade to keep Hank out of the sun. Another man fetched some ice water from his car to fill my water bottle for Hank to suck on. Another man, a mechanic, drove down the street to his auto shop in search of bolt cutters. Another man was holding one of Hank’s hands while the mechanic started to cut the cart bars. By this point Hank was loving all the attention and forgot that he was stuck. The mechanic told the Wal-Mart employee, “sorry for cutting your cart.” The employee said, “I’d rather a broken cart then a hurt baby.” So they cut the bar and bent it back and I got Hank out.

How dose this relate to politics? I know we probably all had different political views. I was a textbook Democrat: a Subaru, a BPA-free camelback water bottle, and a cart full of canvas shopping bags. The only thing missing was an Obama sticker on the car and a bag of arugula. A little emergency like this brought us together no problem. I loved the people helping. I’d help them in an instant. I saw their good side. One guy even said this little one (Hank) had guardian angels.

So this situation brought a group of people together, old and young, Wal-Mart shoppers, people from Grand Junction, Americans. On the other hand politics would drive us apart. I would be an elitist (though a frugal one); I could probably find one of them to be freaky patriotic, racist or crazy into guns. The stereotypes and the passion behind politics is so dividing. I have two neighbors who have had family divisions happen because of the recent election. I get email forwards that are dripping with hate and usually in crazy fonts. I hear people talk about candidates like they aren’t real people. The whole thing can get depressing.

That doesn’t mean I throw up my hands. It doesn’t mean I don’t want someone as educated and capable and even-tempered like Obama to be my president. I just wish there was a way for our country to come together and to leave the anger and hate behind. Any ideas? I think a starting place is not to play into the negativity. For instance, don’t personally talk down candidates. Would you talk to them face to face like that? Have educated, non-emotional conversations about real political issues. If you are getting enraged, try to figure out what’s hitting a nerve. Wake up to the fact that neither party will ever have all the answers. All this is coming out right as Willie and I prepare to watch the presidential debate tonight. Maybe we’ll watch the debate and skip the commentary. (Except for The Daily Show.)

I love September. Later down the road, when I take up writing again, I’ll have a collection of memoirs called September. It’s a time of celebration and harvest in our family.

I was born in September so I have all kinds of memories about birthday parties and anticipation of gifts, extra spending money, etc. I remember one birthday we had a campout at the rock canyon campground. We all stayed up late talking and we woke up to someone playing bagpipes in our campsite.

Willie and I got married in September. This month we’ll celebrate our 8th anniversary. We spent our honeymoon up by Yellowstone and then several great anniversaries at Strawberry hot springs (video here). So the mating call of the Elk, the turning leaves and the cool weather will always remind me of us. Our first kiss wasn’t in September, maybe October, but I can remember it well. Willie was wearing a brown corduroy shirt and jeans. We kissed once in the living room of his apartment then he walked me out to my car and we kissed again. The night was cold, we could probably see our breath and I had butterflies. It was magical. I am one lucky woman to be married to this man.

My two children were born in September. I can’t tell you how sweet they are. They bring so much joy to Willie and me. Wyatt will turn 4 this month and Hank will be one.

I remember when I was on bed rest at the hospital in Boulder; I could get out of bed for one wheelchair ride a day. Willie would take me outside by a fountain with flowers around it. I remember feeling fall in the air, admiring the few blanket flowers still hanging in there. After Wyatt was born and still in the hospital I remember pumping during the night and hearing coyotes yipping outside. Willie and I would walk along the train tracks and creek path by the hospital enjoying the colorful foliage.

Last year when I was pregnant with Hank we came into so much produce. Someone gave us a box of grapes and peaches and apples. I remember staying up late working on canning so exhausted and hot and HUGE but feeling satisfied when I made good use of the local harvest. I remember the night before Hank was born, my contractions started suddenly, I took a shower (where my water conveniently broke) and we changed the sheets for my neighbor to come stay with Wyatt. We left a little before midnight and I remember it being a beautiful night, so quiet outside and peaceful as we drove to the hospital. We got green lights and tree lined streets the whole way. It wasn’t far, maybe two or three contractions away. Hank was born about 2 hrs later.

If you are still reading this lengthy tribute to September, you must love it too or you’re totally bored at work.

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