no place like home

last night we had dinner together, and then, as usual, i set off on my own to study away. i've got two big projects due this week that i've been slaving away on. for some reason, after getting up to campus and working a little, i just started to get so sad. i felt lonely and just wanted to be with josh and the boys. generally i'm somewhat of a loner, and i love what i'm studying so it's not bad--it's kind of a break. but sometimes, especially on friday nights, it does leave me a little sad and lonely, but you do what you have to do. last night was worse, maybe because it's been kind of a hard week, or maybe i'm just a little stressed out. anyway, so after getting all choked up and feeling generally miserable i thought, "janell, you CAN go home!" wow, what a concept. so i did. i arrived there about 830, and was just getting out of the car when josh and the boys pulled up after having a fun night at gateway. i opened joshua's door and he was so excited and said 'mom, how come you're back?!" and jacob just started giggling. i gave joshua a hug and josh got jacob out, who immediately came running around the car to me and hugged my legs. i was even MORE happy to see them. granted, i had only left the house two hours earlier, after a fun day of playing at the park with the boys. but still, for some reason it was just SO GOOD to be back home. i walked into the house with jacob on my hip and joshua's little hand in mine, a very happy mom.
we got the kids ready for bed, and joshua wanted me to put him to sleep which i always love doing. we read 'cool chameleons' and i sang him a few songs and he fell sweetly to sleep.
then, i talked josh into watching one of my three favorite movies which i've seen a million times. don't laugh. it's you've got mail. WHY have i seen it a million times? well, i used to put it on for a few minutes while i folded laundry, or was nursing or working on christmas cards or other tasks like that that don't require much thought. (my other two favorite movies, by the way, are both pride and prejudice--the keira knightly version and the jennifer ehle/colin firth version. i love jane austen.) i pretty much want to be meg ryan living on the upper west side (or, of course, elizabeth bennet. what girl doesn't want to be elizabeth bennet?) last night it was you've got mail--i think it's smart-funny, clean, sweet and happy, and they talk a lot about politics and literature--my two favorite hobbies. and it has a fun soundtrack. and tom hanks is amazing, greg kinnear is hilarious in this movie and nora ephron who wrote/produced/directed it is very good (and also writes for the nytimes, which earns her extra janell points). one of my favorite dialogues is:
"keep those west-side-liberal-nuts-psuedo-intellectuals happy"
"they're called READERS dad"
"don't do that son, don't romanticize them."
anyway, we put this on and i told josh "it's like comfort to my soul. it's like eating soup on a rainy day." this is true. don't ask why it has this calming effect on me but it does. so watching it with josh while we ate peppermint ice cream, i just felt like, okay--life is normal again. life is good. of course, i still studied throughout the movie (and actually did get a lot done). and josh was fast asleep on the couch in under an hour, but it was a great night. i love my family. it's good to be home.


elections are for nerds

nerds like me. so in honor of election day, i'm posting some of my most recent, favorite thoughts on elections. i am a member of the university of utah's MPA student association. nerdy? i know. but fun! at our recent halloween party/fall food drive kickoff (benefitting the Utah Food Bank), one of our activities was a mock election. now, i must give credit where credit is due--the idea was not mine, but rich's, and a great idea it was. i, however, was given charge over it. so below is my setup... the polling place sign is great. i borrowed that from one of my professors who researches elections and so has all kinds of random election things lying around. i made the un-stuffable and completely fraud-proof ballot box (sorry we're not diebold. no DRE's, no optical scan ballots, not even an antique lever machine--we're clearly underfunded. write your representative!) for authenticity's sake, i even had some old "i voted"stickers for people to wear around, which must have been left over from my days as a poll worker. we spared no expense, after all we wanted it to be a good experience--it's all about "voter confidence" these days. most importantly, i made the ballots. the ballots were sweet--they looked semi-professional, so much so that i had to include a disclaimer saying that they were "For MPASA Mock Election use Only. Not an Official Ballot." (but sorry again, no VVPAT). it was fun. we voted for 2 of the leading presidential candidates (old-school style, the first runner-up gets to be vice), as well as for the SLC mayor, and the current ballot referendum #1 which has created all sorts of local debate about school vouchers.
the results...barack obama is our new president, with not one but TWO vice-presidents. that's right my girl hillary tied with none other than mitt romney himself. while rudy pulled in a few votes, actually tying john edwards, i am sorry to say mccain got none. i am not sorry to say that fred thompson got none, since he drives me crazy. my favorite though, is that stephen colbert got ONE redeeming vote, which of course was a write in. colbert is hilarious, and is claiming he WILL run. but only in his state of south carolina. he wants to run as a republican AND as a democrat, so that he can be the first person to lose both. you've gotta love that.
ralph becker-democrat, beat dave buhler-republican for mayor. and the school voucher referendum #1 went down hard core. this is a good thing in my opinion, because even if you think vouchers may be good in some situations, this referendum allows everyone to get vouchers, even the wealthiest people who would send their kids to private school regardless. (that, by the way, is a unique utah twist on the voucher debate, and not an issue up for consideration in the national voucher debate.) in the real election today, the referendum is expected to lose 40-60, although there can be no doubt that we have not seen the last of the pro-voucher, milton friedman followers.
my last point here is to plug one of my favorite blogs: Election Updates: "New research, analysis and commentary on election reform, voting technology, and election administration." i check it regularly. (nerd? i already told you--i know!) that same professor who gave me the polling place sign is one of the bloggers, along with a few colleagues. it's a lot of academic, technical talk, but here are two of my favorite postings recently. Photo ID Comment from Justice Dept. is about john tanner of the DOJ's embarrassing speech regarding minority disenfranchisement caused by voter ID laws (here's a link to the actual youtube video where he says "they die first...just the math, is such as that.") Be Careful What You Wish For discusses an article that absurdly links election machine manufacturers to big tobacco. it's funny news without intending to be, which is the best kind.
okay i'm done...go vote! me and my kids did, and afterwards as we picked up the other two kids we carpool to school with, joshua asked them "do you guys vote?" and proceeded to tell them all about it, while proudly wearing his "i voted" sticker. so don't be outdone by a 4-year-old. elections may be for nerds, but according to joshua "voting's really cool."


why we love halloween...

i LOVE this picture of joshua. he looks so happy, which he really was, and he's showing off his big muscles. jacoby on the other hand was rather intent on his candy. he walked around with a tootsie roll in one hand, sucker in the other, and at one point also had another piece of candy tucked in between his neck and shoulder, which i could NOT take away without inducing a tantrum. we let him get away with it, it's halloween right? i wish we had more photos of my happy pumpkin, but our camera is broken so we do what we can.
one thing i love about both of my boys is that they are very adventurous and love doing things and being out and trying new things. i like to think they get this from josh and i, but maybe that's wishful thinking. anyway, so jacob's latest thing is that he gets very excited says "yes, yes YES!" and giggles and just can't hold it in. this happens when he's playing basketball (or ba-bee-bah, as he calls it), or when we're about to go outside, or when we show up at my sisters house and he realizes he gets to play with his cousins "anna" and "e-nose" (translation: arianna and enzo). all the time. and now, it happens for CANDY! joshua is so sweet and always asks me before digging into his candy bag. yesterday he asked and i said "you can have one or two things, but give jacob something as well." jacob was SO excited when he realized joshua was unwrapping that dum-dum just for him. he happily giggles, wiggles and dances around and stomps his feet and of course yells: "Yes, yes YES!" isn't he cute? i think he's the cutest thing in the world. one thing he does now that i find especially cute is follow his brother around. first thing when jacob wakes up he wants "ja-shu-a!" he says it just like that--three very distinct syllables. he will stand at the foot of the stairs yelling "ja-shu-a! ja-shu-a!" they are playing more and more and i love hearing them giggling together (until inevitablly i hear jacob crying, then i'm the one yelling "joshua!")

here's spiderman in full regalia...

this is joshua with two friends from school--carter and elsie, who we carpool with. they are cute. elsie wil always hold my hand and tell me what they are doing in school, while joshua and carter are busy running around and laughing at the non-sensical words they make up to call each other. below is joshua's class....he had a great day at school, of course. he loves his friends, although i am sorry to say his favorite recess activity is "chasing the girls." he definitely hangs out with the boys, but i must say the girls love him and he definitely does not mind. this could be trouble. i mean, i'm sure i'm biased, but he's a cute, cool kid. i'm dreading the little girls that will be calling our house in a few years...


happy haunting

supposedly, halloween is over. not at our house. we have a few halloween cd's that joshua loves and we've been listening to all month--monster mash, love potion #9, ghostbusters--all the spooky classics. this morning while i ran upstairs joshua turned off my morning news and got the cd back out (i had already started putting the halloween stuff away.) when i came back down he had "adam's family" playing and said, "mom, what button do you push to get the song to play over and over and over and over?" since then, we've heard about the creepy cooky mysterious & ooky family well over 100 times this morning. and still counting. i figure i can't complain too much because lately, when we're in the car and i'm flipping stations to find a song i like, joshua will say, with a sigh and an exacerbated tone of voice, "mom, let's just listen to the news!" how's that for training?
so halloween...originally, i wasn't thrilled about joshua being a superhero, it's like how all the little girls have to be princesses. but he loved it, so it was definitely a good thing. there is a mask with the costume, which of course he won't leave on, so i decided to die his hair red, which made him a little more original. the kids at school thought the red hair was the coolest. damien kept wanting to touch it, and carter just stared at him with this amazed smile on his face and asked "woah joshua, how'd you get that stuff in your hair?" jacob's little pumpkin was actually one my mom made years ago for my sister heide. when we were back in wisconsin we put jacob in it and he loved it. we all thought he looked adorably hilarious, so decided that would be his costume. the only downfall is that, while trick-or-treating, joshua kept getting asked "do you want some candy for your little sister?" oh well, i still say he's the cutest pumpkin i've ever seen, and the happiest. i will post some pictures of just the cute boys in the next few days...