Thursday, May 18, 2006

Da Vinci Code, Immigration, and More

Life has been busy so I have not blogged in a while.

In the last few weeks we have taken the kids to the zoo, attended our twin nephew's birthday party in Raleigh, had mother's day celebrations, etc.!

Jacob has mastered potty training, but this week he made a large mess. He went to the bathroom and came out with wet pants and dry underwear. Mike was trying to figure out how that happened when he noticed that Maria had crawled in the bathroom. She was sitting in the middle of a flooded bathroom and the toilet was overflowing. Jacob finally explained that he had used too much toilet paper.

Maria has always been so relaxed, but she also surprises me. She is 11 months old and is walking and climbing. At church Sunday I turned my back for a minute and when I turned around she had climbed on top of a table.

I am going to see the Da Vinci Code. I hope the movie is good. I found the book entertaining, and it sparked a lot of debate and thought in our book club discussion.

I think I am most bothered by the fact that people are afraid of or are condemned for reading or discussing certain issues. For example, I am so tired of hearing people condemned for reading the Da Vinci Code. It is a fiction book! When our book club read it, the book forced people to investigate issues and really think about what they believe. If anything, it strengthened my faith and my beliefs because I actually did research to understand the history. One thing that bothers me is that many people that will attend the Bible studies condemning the book will probably never read the book. How can you criticize a book that you have never read? The entire point of reading and intellectual growth and debate is to be exposed to things that will broaden your horizons, that will challenge you, that will expose you to new thoughts and ideas. Simply because I read a book that expresses viewpoints that are contrary to my own does not mean that I will immediately renounce every belief that I had and accept the new theory. Instead, what often happens is that I am forced to see an issue from a different perspective. Then, after much thought and analysis, and after considering various sides of an issue, I am able to make a decision about my beliefs based on all the information that is out there. Do we want people to be mindless drones that simply swallow the facts that we feed them or do we want people that can think and analyze things for themselves? Do you really have faith if you believe something simply because it is the only thing you have ever known? What happens to those people when their faith is challenged or they are introduced to a new idea? I think true faith is choosing to believe something after analyzing the other options. Then you have actually made a choice. (On a side note, some of these issues are brought to light in an excellent nonfiction book, Under the Banner of Heaven. The book forces the reader to consider faith and the importance of making choices as opposed to simply believing what you are told to believe).

This brings me to the immigration debate. I think that it is so sad that the majority of American's could care less what happens with immigration. Some would even argue that they feel powerless to change anything. This is the argument I often hear when people do not vote - they feel that their vote does not matter. The really sad thing is that most Americans know everything there is to know about American Idol, Survivor, etc. Most Americans will also take the time to debate who is the best singer on American Idol, and many of them will even vote (even though their vote may not really matter). What does it say about us that we are so concerned about a bunch of amateur singers, yet we could care less about having input in our political process and in political decision making that impacts us every day?

Monday, May 08, 2006

Our Vacation (Her Story)

Mike and I decided to do his side and her side versions of our vacations. His blog has a lot of detail and was written first, so I will try not to repeat things. If you read my blog first, be sure to read Mikes to hear his side of the story.

Day 1: Trip to Williamsburg
I had been stressed trying to get out of the office. I left work early, rushed home, changed cloths, and we piled in the car. We dropped the kids off and hit the road. We had some great conversation on the drive up and listened to a sermon by Donald Miller on the drive up. When we arrived at the Governors Inn, I was happy to see that the place was clean. Mike is correct when he says that we do not have high standards for our lodging. If it is clean and has a warm shower, that is generally enough for us because when we travel we try to see and do as much as we can and spend little time at the hotel. We were both really tired and went to bed after arriving. However, at about 2 am, I felt the bed shaking and heard a loud roar. I asked Mike what was going on and he said it was a train. The train was so close that you could look out our window and see it. This worried me about our hotel because one of the things I looked forward to most was being able to sleep (when you have 2 small kids, sleep is something you dream about).

Day 2: Busch Gardens
This park was beautiful. However, I had so much anxiety. I am a worrier, and I am also a lawyer (which means I have read too many products liability cases and tort cases so I know all of the bad things that can happen). I had a difficult time getting excited about the theme park because I kept imagining the many ways that I could die or be seriously injured on a roller coaster. We went to the first ride, the Lochness Monster. When we got on, I compulsively checked and rechecked the shoulder harness to make sure it was locked and secure. Of course, this only helped to ease a few fears because I knew that the roller coaster could be derailed from the track or a computer malfunction might occur that would cause the shoulder harness to release me. After the ride was over, and I knew that I had survived, I thought it was fun, so I allowed Mike to convince me to ride it a second time. We hopped back on, and were about 2/3 through the ride. We were going up a large hill when the roller coaster STOPPED. We just sat there frozen. I looked to my right, and I could see the tops of trees. I am not fond of heights, so I was not thrilled that this had happened. People kept coming onto a load speaker saying that they were having technical difficulties and that the ride would begin soon. They also told us to remain seated (it was impossible to do anything else because they had not released our harnesses). Anyway, I asked Mike why he thought this was happening. Mike said, This sort of thing happens all the time. I am sure that they are probably just backed up loading passengers, so they probably stopped us on this hill so that we would not be waiting at the loading station. I told him that was the dumbest thing I had ever heard because they always just stop the roller coaster just before the station. I was praying that they would come and get us off. I didnt know if they would use fire trucks or what, but I wanted off of that ride because I knew that there were still 2 loops left and the LAST thing I wanted was to continue a ride that was having technical difficulties.

After about 20 minutes, a woman came from the woods and said not to panic because they were going to get us out. She asked us to yell to the people in the front and Mike yelled, We are all going to die. I could have hit him, but I was frozen with fear. There were some very narrow steps by the hill where we were stopped. We were sitting at an odd angle. Workers had to come up the steps and get us out one at a time. When I finally got off the ride, they gave us a pass to go to the front on the next ride. I was really upset because I felt they were just giving us a pass to a faster death. The LAST thing I wanted to do was get on another ride.

However, because I love my husband, I decided to swallow my fears and ride the other roller coasters. I rode everything that he wanted to that day.

I wont detail everything else we did, but I will say that the Irish Dance Show was fabulous, and the food that we ate for lunch was great. The worst thing we did was go to this play called OSullivans castle. Mike wanted to go, and it was terrible.

Day 3: Colonial Williamsburg

I really enjoyed Saturday. We were able to just relax and enjoy the day. There were 2 highlights for me. First, I felt like I was in a MasterCard commercial:

Tickets to Williamsburg - $40, Lunch - $20, Seeing my husband in the middle of a tiny bed between two strange men PRICELESS.

We did a tour of the tavern. On the tour, one of the men asked crazy questions. He asked about having the bed to himself, and the lady giving the tour decided to demonstrate how people would have slept in the tavern. She put the crazy man on one side of the bed, put Mike in the middle, and put another obnoxious man on the other side of the bed. I took as many pictures as I could.

The print shop was also open. I LOVE that place. I especially love hearing the stories about how we developed our modern day phrases from the way things were done then. For example, upper case letters and lower case letters are called that because the upper case letters were literally kept in an upper case.
We also had a dessert called Death By Chocolate. It was outstanding!

Day 4: Yorktown, Jamestown, Home

I loved Jamestown and Yorktown. My only regret was that we did not have more time. Of course I tried to read EVERYTHING in the museums, and finally Mike had to tell me that I had to pick up the pace. I felt like I learned so much. It was also a beautiful day. One of the really cool things we watched was a woman making a canoe out of a tree. She was burning the tree out to make the canoe.
The ride home was fine, but I really enjoyed getting back and seeing the kids. Jacob and Maria were so happy to see us! Maria had started WALKING just before we left, so it was so much fun to watch her walk around.

All in all, this was a great vacation / anniversary trip.