More Eating Animals

So after my initial post yesterday I have done some more research. It's definitely way more expensive to buy ethical meat than I anticipated which is super sad. It's particularly hard where I live because it is so urban I would have to travel pretty far to find truly certified ethical meat. However, I have been reading a few other blogs and exploring much better options than what we are doing right now.

First off, it's more realistic to say I am going to attempt to drastically cut down on the amount of of factory farmed meat I consume rather than saying I am never going to eat it again. For our family, at this point, it's not realistic. I have found a small local farm that is not "certified" but I have seen the farm and I feel good about the way they treat and feed their animals and they are more reasonably priced than some of the more more trendy ethical farms out in Virginia. I plan on visiting them next week to make some purchases.

Another step is to just eat less meat. I definitely am a meat lover and probably eat more than my share. So by increasing the amount of organic vegetables I am eating and decreasing the general amount of meat it will make a difference. Also, a huge point for me is the eggs. To me buying "cage free" at the grocery store means nothing. No one regulates this label being put on food so who knows if they are even doing it and many farmers' interpretation of cage-free means a million chickens are shoved in a room where it's so crammed they can't even walk or peck. So one plan I have it to use pumpkin instead of eggs and oil in my baking. I actually already do this with one type of cookies I make, but I plan on implementing this on everything I can. Now I am on a mission to find some locally grown ethical eggs nearby for the rest of my cooking. One exciting this is these kinds of eggs last longer than the type you get in the grocery store so the cost may even out over time because I always end up throwing eggs out all the time.
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Eating Animals

So I've been wrestling with the idea of giving up meat for probably half of my life. When I was Catholic I usually gave up meat for Lent as a way to ease my conscience. Several times a year I deeply contemplate this, but I always chose to ignore it because I am weak and I LOVE meat. I know that if I really face up to the way the animals that we buy from the grocery store are really treated it makes me sick. Today, while sitting at home and watching Ellen I watched a spot on vegetarianism that I really couldn't ignore. I know this is a controversial topic for many people and there are strong opinions on both sides. I have resolved to begin by drastically cutting down on my meat consumption with the intention of eventually giving up al factory farm meat. I am lucky enough to know of a local farm that I know I would not be ashamed to eat the animals they raise. My issue is not the idea of eating animals but of encouraging the disgusting treatment of most of the animals that are a part of our daily diets. I hope I can do it because it is important to me but I know it will be hard. Wish me luck!
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The 4 Loves...and Hates

Loves (in no particular order)

1. BOOKS! I can openly say I am obsessed. I am just like my dad in this!

2. Aha moments. Yes, I am stealing this phrase from Oprah, but it's so true. My pet peeve is a lack of self awareness so I try to be aware of how my actions are perceived by others. Not in a way like I'm worried what everyone thinks. But in an attempting to be sesitive to others and having empathy way. I am not always successful, but at least I try.

3. Nieces (and necphews if I had any). I am so satisfied with the fantasicness of my nieces I wonder if I even need kids (kidding). Let sisters and sisters-in-law do all the tough stuff and take all the glory in being the fun aunt. However, I know being a mother will be priceless and I cannot deprive my sister of the joy of being an aunt.

4. John. As I said, in no particular order :-P. Sure everyone has their faults, but I seriously lucked out in the husband department.

HATES

1. How the skinniest person at the gym has to some work out right next to me even though there are 15 other open treadmills. This happens literally every time I am there. EVERY. TIME. These ridiculously thin women come work out next to me moving at an inhuman speed for about 10 minutes then they collapse from exhaustion because they have only eaten a stick of celery in the last 2 days. I do not criticize your devotion to to bodily perfection, but rather your need to come work out next to me to make yourself feel evern thinner.

2. People who talk on their cell phones in public restrooms. I do not talk to my friends on the phone while I pee and I dont want your friends to hear me either. I think they should pass a law. This is an invasion of my privacy!

3. Rubber neckers. We have all done it, but I save my rubber necking for something that actually merits it. Not for the dude who ran out of gas in his mercedes. This happens every day in DC. Is it really that interesting? It's not so just keep driving with you eyes straight ahead. Just worry about not running the guy over, not staring at him for long enough to be able to paint his portrait when you get home.

4. Sharing dairy products. John says I am generally a bad sharer. But some things I cannot do and sharing dairy products is one of them. No need to elaborate why on this. I think it's obvious.
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Give Me Liberty, or Give Me Death!


So in life and in blogging I, typically, shy far far away from political issues. Even when John tries to talk to me about issues that he is fired up about I don't want to hear it. I like to bury my head in the sand because it gives me too much anxiety when I face what is really going on in our country today. I hate that I have to cringe and wait for the insult or eye roll when I tell people I am a conservative. Do we really want to be a one party system? Personally I am in favor of more parties. Two is not enough and one is just frightening.

The media is one of the main players in this in this assault against conservatives. Fox News is labeled as a fear monger and radical. Seriously? Let's be honest Fox News is conservative and everyone else is extremely liberal and each side pushes their own agenda. Each side is bias and, honestly, the liberal side is the greater of the two evils. Not to say that both sides have not done wrong, but be real people. Journalist who coin themselves independents can't even hold back the eye rolling when they have a conservative guest. They have completely given up on maintaining the actual facade of being independent.

Since when is it un-American to trust in capitalism? Since when is socialized heath care considered to be the answer we have all been looking for? Please give me a good example pf a country that is better of because of it. People in Canada won't even get minor surgery done there like Lasik eye surgery. They come to America for it!

This week Obama will appear on Letterman. Since when does a campaign include a media tour similar to that of Tom Cruise promoting a movie. Why is the presidential election a popularity contest? I know Obama might be a cool guy to have a drink with but do you really want a man who has known association with terrorists and groups like ACORN running our national security?

I am a conservative and I don't think my taxes should pay for abortions. I do not want the quality of medical care to go down because of socialist propaganda. I am not okay with reverse racism. I will not stand for a big government who makes snap decisions and representatives who do not truly represent the will of the people, but rather the campaign donors filling their pockets. I am a conservative and I will not hide because it is not popular. I will not accept that the highest nation in the land is a popularity contest no better than that of a high school homecoming court. I will no longer shy away from confrontation over issues that are too important to ignore and tell yourself that it is the political cycle and will eventually correct itself. Finally, I will not be ashamed to call myself a conservative because of shameful indiscretions of past political representatives. They are not what America stands for and not what my party stands for. My party stands for hard working Americans who have contributed to the values and ideals that our forefathers laid out for us which are equality, respect, happiness, justice, peace, unity, and freedom.
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New Trailer for New Moon!



Even John is excited for it!
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Friend Visits and Vacations

So we have been really busy lately with Dan and Heather visiting (separately) and getting ready for our vacation. We haven't been on a real vacation since our honeymoon and that was only 4 days long. This will be my first time out of the U.S. (besides Canada which I barely count since my family lives there) and I am really excited! We are planning on going snorkeling in Belize which will be the highlight! I am also so pumped to be able to hang out with Amber, Devin, Heather, and Dan for a whole week! We plan on making this an anual event. Next year's may be on a smaler scale if we buy a house, but we will see!

I'll try to post a book review before I go. Heather took a bunch of pics o her visit and as soon as she sends them to me I will post them. Bon Voyage!
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Heather is Here!

Heather is here this weekend so next week I will have some pics and an update of what we did!
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Book Review: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder


Poison Study is the story of a novice food taster Yelena. She escapes execution by obtaining the job of the Commander's food taster. The story takes place in a fictitious communist dictatorship. There is magic, fighting, a little romance, and lots of twists and turns. Yelena is a strong female heroine that leave you wondering if you would be tough enough to endure what she does.
Maria V. Snyder is an author that I have grown to really love. Poison Study is the first in a trilogy of "study" books. The sequels are Magic Study followed by Fire Study. In addition, Snyder has recently begun a spin off series for one of the characters you meet in Fire Study. I really like Snyder because she likes her own characters and understands her fans. I subscribe to her newsletter and she sends out awesome short stories every other month. I'm not a huge fan of those pretentious authors that have some kind of love/hate relationship with their main character or the ones who don't understand how attached people get to their characters. So far I can recommend all of her books. The most recent, Storm Glass, is not my favorite of hers, but I still love the world she has created and will continue reading her works.
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My Book Queue


I am always looking for good book recommendations. Below is a list of my queue. Please make comments with any suggestions!

1. Starman by Sarah Douglass- This is the third book in the Wayfarer Redemption Series that Dianna Recommended to me. I would never have picked this book out on my own, but it's turning out really good. This just proves you never know what you will end up liking.

2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - Since I was an English major I got to read tons of classics, but there are a few I missed. I'm really looking forward to this one!

3. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - Another Stephanie Meyer Recommendation. The sequel comes out next month so I need to get on it!

4. Betrayed by P.C. Cast - The second novel in the House of Night Series. These books are way too juvenile for me and I'm not a huge fan, but I'm one of those people that once I start a series I can't stop even when it's kinda painful. Please don't read unless you are still in high school. Save yourself.

5. Mr. Darcy, Vampyre by Amanda Grange - So I am a fan of Vampires, a fan of all things Jane Austen, and a fan of Amanda Grange. I am somewhat skeptical of this, but I'm going to give it a try.
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Book Review: Mortal Instruments Trilogy



Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments Trilogy is a great urban fantasy series. She has a strong female heroine and manages to actually be humorous in the actions adventure books. It's a rare thing for a book to make you laugh remaining vivid and suspenseful. Her creativity seems unending and I am excited that she is currently working on another trilogy that is a prequel to this series. The first book took about 100 pages to really get into, but after that I couldn't put the books down. There are a few twists you really don't see coming and it really makes you examine familial relationships within society. These books have a little of everything including vampires, fairies, and warlocks, each with her own personal twist. This book was a recommendation I found from Stephanie Meyer and there are plans to make this series into a trilogy of movies. I worry that they won't be able translate it to film without looking cheesy (or creepy), much like Twilight. Hopefully, they can learn some lessons from that and make a earnest attempt at capturing the world Clare has created.

Check out here website here: http://www.mortalinstruments.com/
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A New Trailer for New Moon for Your Enjoyment

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Hill Climb 2009

So we were not able to go to the Hill Climb this year because I was working on my final exam, but we missed an eventful one. Unfortunately, there was an accidenton the hill this year with Ben and Aaron. Watch the video to see what happened. Don't worry though, they are ok. Just a concussion and 5 stitches for Aaron. No more hill for them!

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3 Years and Still Going Strong

On June 10 John and I celebrated out 3 year anniversary. We are proud to say we have lasted longer than the average Hollywood marriage and have managed to avoid any major scandals. I was always frustrared because everyone kept saying that the first year of marriage was the honeymoon period and that it would get so much harder from there. For us, it has really been the opposite. The first year was ridiculously rough, but it has gotten better and easier every year. I would rather have it all uphill than all downhill from the first year. Happy Anniversary Poppy!
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Delainey Meet Sammie and Katie



When the fam was visiting we also got the chance to introduce Lainey to the kids I used to nanny for. Delainey, as usual, was all about the bigger kids. Here are some pics.
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June Catch-Up









Emily, Mom, and the irls came and visited in the begining of June for the week of my anniversary. We went to the beach and the aquaurium, and some other stuff that I can't remember because it has been some long. Delainey LOVED the sand. The water- not so much! But here are some pics for your visual enjoyment!
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I'm Back!!!!

So I have been totally MIA for the entire summer, but for a very good reason. I have been taking a ridiculously hard course for grad school. It was supposed to be an intro to Homeland Security course, but I quickly learned that I was one of only two people in my course who did not have a government background. Therefore, I had a lot of ground to cover just to get to pace with the other students in my course. I had a minimum of 30o pages of reading a week. You may be thinking 300 isn't too terrible considering how fast I read. BUT I would like to respsectfully disagree. These were not 300 pages of a good book, or even a text book. These were 300 pages of dry repetative government reports. Not to mention, I didn't know the lingo and had to spent a lot of time googling acronyms. I am happy to say that it all paid of though! I found out yesterday that I got an A in my class. I was seriously wondering if I would be cut out to make a career change into this field once I finished my degree. The fact that this instructor rarely gives out A's really makes me feel like I can get a job in this field and I could be really good at it. It still have a long road ahead of me, but now I know it's not too late to try something new and if you work hard you can do just as well as anyone else even if they are a director of a governmenct security agancy!

One a totally different note I am going to start trying a few new things with this whole blogging hobby. In the past, I have made it more of a photo album, which I will continue with. Everyone likes to see pictures and it helps me when I go to scrapbook to remember the order of the events. However, I am also going to start including book reviews. Most people don't know I try to read one new book a week. (Yes, this is in addition to my schoolwork.) I am also going to begin a new tradition in September that I am totally stealing from my friends Krista. I turn 26 next month so am planning on spending the next year doing "12 Months to a Better Me." Each month I will try and make one lifestyle change then once I hit my 27th birthday I will re-evaluate how the mission went. My first order of business is to begin to track my diet. I have been doing weight watchers on and off for about 6 months. I have lost 10 pounds so far, but I will admit I have been wishy washy at best about it. So by tracking my weight loss monthly and putting myself out there hopefully this will motivate me to be more committed. So some months the changes I try to make will be physical, sometimes personal, and sometime spiritual. I really hope everyone starts leaving comments too with suggestions or personal experiences. I also start by catching myself up on my blog posting then we can start September fresh!
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Lainey Vid

This video is from Valentine' Day Weekend so it's kinda old, but I thought it was cute and worthy of a belated posting.
video
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Belated Tea Party Pics








Here are the pics from my Mom's tea party that I promised months ago.
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Aaron and Andrea's Wedding





On the weekend of May 16 we went to Cinncinatti for Aaron and Andrea's wedding. We were able to fly into Columbus and rent a car and drive down. It was pretty cool to be back in Columbus. We drove around the campus and stopped at the Buckeye Corner. Most of our friends aren't there anymore, but we still really miss it. I doubt we will ever be able to move back, but it was our first home when we were married so we will always miss it.

Here are a few photos from the wedding. My camera died so we didn't get very many. All in all it was a really fun weekend and we got to spend time with a lot of people we don't get to see very much and even made some new friends at the wedding.
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Delainey's Baptism








This past weekend John and I went to Ohio for Delainey's Baptism. Whenever we go to Ohio the visits are always so quick and we are exhausted the whole time. We still had a good time and made it back in one piece. John was also able to go help Jen and Brian move into their new house.

Delainey did suprisingly well at her baptism considering how hyperactive she is. She crawled all around and tried to run away a few times, but I was impressed that she was still for when the priest poured the water over her head. I'm also impressed Emily didn't drop her. You can see the pics below.
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You MUST watch this!

I cannot contain my excitement! If you have not already read the Twilight series you NEED to do so. Normally, I don't enjoy these type of pop culture books. However, the story if just so good. Stephanie Meyer has creative ideas and I really appreciate her writing for that.

Check out the new trailer for New Moon!

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Overdue Update

So I have totally slacked on the blogging lately which makes no sense since I am working less now. I really like my new job in case you were wondering. I was kinda sad though about having to work 11-8. Fortunately, by some miracle Dominique wanted to switch with me. Now I am working 830-5 and I am loving every minute of it. Besides the extra traffic, but even that isn't that bad. There are definitely aspects of my job that I don't LOVE, but after some of my previous experiences I have learned to appreciate a lack of suckiness when I see it.

We went home for my mom's birthday weekend which also happened to be Valentine's weekend. We had dinner with my parents and John got me a coach purse! Sunday my Aunt Rebecca threw a tea party for my mom. It was pretty fun and we even wore old lady hats. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! I'll post some pictures later on.
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Deja-vu

John and I are both back in school! I am now eligible for free tuition with my job so I am pursuing a Master's of Science in Distance Education. At my level position spouses are not guaranteed tuition assistance but they can apply for scholarships. John was lucky enough to get one class paid for per semester. In this economy I think that's pretty good. So John is going to be working on his Master's of Science in Management with a Healthcare Administration focus. I also get 25% off books so that will be a big help too. We're so excited for this because we've both wanted to go back for a while, but couldn't bear to take out more student loans. Also, John and I both have the goal of graduating with a 4.0 so we will keep you updated on our success.
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