Monday, December 31, 2007

our sweet milk mouth girl

one of my favorite things about having this new little girl is feeding her and the milk mustache that always follows. i love it. she is such a good girl and for the most part only cries when she needs to be changed or fed. we feel so lucky to have such a good baby.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Astrid Ella VanWagenen

6 lbs 12 oz
20 in

Today was her first check up and she now weighs in at 7.1 lbs

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

we've got her!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Please don't be jealous of my past fierceomness

I don't think 'fierceomness' is a word, and if it is I certainly didn't spell it right, but the beard deserves its own word and perhaps its own whole language. Jasmine dug these up the other day and I remembered how good things were before I became a lawyer. Also, I think Jasmine might go into labor tonight.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

No Country for Old Men

Have you seen this movie? Set in a small Texas border town and the surrounding countryside, the story follows a psychopathic killer's efforts to track down a brief case of $2 million dollars that was lifted by a local trailer park resident who happened upon the scene of a massive drug deal gone wrong. The killer is played to harrowing effect by Javier Bardem (I think that's his name), who forces his victims to flip a coin and call heads or tales on their lives. The film will be remembered for its dark characters, brutal violence, and unorthodox plot. But particularly striking is the way the Coen brothers are able to integrate the landscape and geography of west Texas into the story in a way that makes you feel it is the only setting where a story like this could happen; the only place on earth that could provide a venue for a man like Bardem to blow up cars and trucks by stuffing gasoline-soaked rags into gas tanks after lighting them on fire. The only place where the murder weapon of choice is a air compression tank and hose with enough pressure to blow a quarter through the skull of an unsuspecting cattle rancher or gas station attendent. My wife is from west Texas and tells wonderful stories of her family's cars being stolen on a regular basis there. After their third car was stolen, the family resorted to physically chaining the car to a metal post cemented in the ground. Her father, awoke one night to the roar of a revving engine and a saw working its way through metal. He rushed outside with a loaded handgun which he kept under the bed only to see their van being towed out of the metal post by one man in a truck while his co-conspirator worked away at chopping the metal post with his hack saw. The post broke and the truck tore off down the street leaving a trail of smoking, screeching tires. The family van already had a driver inside when the post broke and the sawman jumped in as Jasmine's dad fired shots in the air and watched helplessly as the van sped away. West Texas is harsh, lawless country where a man is forced to rely on no one but himself to survive. Just hope Javier Bardem is after you with his air canon when you visit.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Why my husband rocks my world

When you get married you just don't really think about what your husband will be like when you're pregnant (at least I didn't). I lucked out and got what I think has been the most stable and reassuring part about my pregnancy--Arthur.
In addition to being absolutely perfect during our pregnancy, Arthur is also 100% game for using cloth diapers. I can hardly think of one guy who really doesn't mind changing diapers, much less cloth ones.
Last week we got our order (above). I can't get over just how cute cloth diapers are!
Like our birth plan, if they don't work, they don't work. But we're really excited to give them a shot.

As for Arthur's last post about "Fun Road Trips to CA", I'd rather not share and relive the nightmare (just the last day), but I'll give a very brief recap.
Arthur and his friends thought it would be really fun to go visit Paul Florence in San Francisco over a weekend. Wives were invited but I was the only one who actually ended up going. We were super excited to see the Florence's new place in Sausalito (gorgeous). We left SL really late on Friday and arrived in SF at about 3am. Paul was great and was our city tour guide all of Saturday. We left somewhat early on Sunday. On the road home all was well discussing the square mileage that would be needed to accommodate all 6 billion people in the world if everyone was standing in a 2ftx2ft box. Before we knew it, I-80 was a campground at Lake Tahoe. (Sidenote: This was the day I started to feel morning sickness). Furious and swearing, I packed up the boys and got in the driver's seat and drove for a good 5 hours. We arrived in SL 14 hours later. Needless to say, it was just too much fun for a sick pregnant lady.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Thanksgivings will, for me, be forever associated with long road trips to California to play soccer. Or to coach soccer. For the second year in a row, Jasmine and I will be several states apart on this holiday weekend. She in Colorado to show off her belly to her grandparents, and me in San Diego for the Nomads soccer tournament. It is my last such tournament with this group of boys, many of whom I've coached for over four years now. They are good lads...all of them. Last year I made the mistake of walking three of them around Tihijuana for an evening. We only had to reject 5 or 6 offers to go into the topless bars and 5 or 6 more for smoking hash and 10 or 20 for illegal firecrackers and switchblade knives. My first trip to TJ was also on the tale end of a trip to Nomads. My dad drove me and several teammates down in our old red and grey Suburban. We ate the buffet at Ceasar's Palace in Vegas on the way down and on the way home, the transmission dropped somewhere in the high desert between Victorville and Barstow. My Pops had to hitchhike back to Victorville to rent a car while we watched football and ate pizza. Sandwiched in between was a trip across the border, my first of any kind, and I was fascinated. Phil Snyder was our goalkeeper and was literally, not approximately, two feet and 80 lbs bigger than me. He listened to Rush, taught 30 year olds how to play the drums, had a brother in prison, and made me borrow some Andrew Dice Clay tapes that I was afraid to listen because I was fairly innocent then. PhiI smuggled switchblades and M-80's and other contraband back across the border. All I smuggled was a brown stain in my extra mediums from eating tacos and being stuck in traffic for three ours trying to cross. Phil's remarkable maturity in haggling with the street vendors only highlighted the embarassement of a kid who'd just crapped his pants. No matter. I tossed my drawers in the first gas station dumpster we passed and Phil acted like crapping your pants was the norm for a trip down south.

Next time on "Fun California Road Trips" we'll explain the picture of Jasmine and I walking on what we thought at the time was I-80 eastbound but was really just a campground at Lake Tahoe.

La familia Sanchez

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Good Sunday

Today was a good day and it started with an extra hour to sleep in and cuddle in bed. We ate a good breakfast and went for a walk-trot around Liberty Park (Arthur is so nice to accompany me on such "workouts", where it takes us 30 minutes to walk-trot 1.5 miles). Our walk was especially nice because the weather was beautiful today. The sun was warm but the air a bit crisp. And the dead leaves everywhere smelled so good. Perfect for a walk. We then came home and started cleaning the house (which we usually don't have time to do on Saturdays because of soccer-now the season is officially over-sadly, Arthur's boys lost in the final yesterday) and made some good soup before we had to leave to the airport. I just got home and Arthur is probably boarding a plane to LA right now.
It was mostly a good day because I spent it with Arthur. I've been thinking about the fact that he and I only have a few weekends left of just us and to be honest, it makes me a little sad. I feel bad for having such a selfish thought but I think the more general idea behind it is that I'm really starting to realize that things are just going to be so different. Arthur is so reassurring and says that it'll still be us but better. I know he's right, and in all truth, I really can't wait to be a parent with him. We have had a great four and a half years of it being just us and now we're ready to have Astrid.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Hip hop head

Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos

I got a letter from the government
The other day
I opened and read it
It said they were suckers
They wanted me for their army or whatever
Picture me given' a damn - I said never
Here is a land that never gave a damn
About a brother like me and myself
Because they never did
I wasn't wit' it, but just that very minute...
It occured to me
The suckers had authority
Cold sweatin' as I dwell in my cell
How long has it been?
They got me sittin' in the state pen
I gotta get out - but that thought was thought before
I contemplated a plan on the cell floor
I'm not a fugitive on the run
But a brother like me begun - to be another one
Public enemy servin' time - they drew the line y'all
To criticize me some crime - never the less
They could not understand that I'm a Black man
And I could never be a veteran
On the strength, the situation's unreal
I got a raw deal, so I'm goin' for the steel

They got me rottin' in the time that I'm servin'
Tellin' you what happened the same time they're throwin'
4 of us packed in a cell like slaves - oh well
The same motherfucker got us livin' is his hell
You have to realize - what its a form of slavery
Organized under a swarm of devils
Straight up - word'em up on the level
The reasons are several, most of them federal
Here is my plan anyway and I say
I got gusto, but only some I can trust - yo
Some do a bid from 1 to 10
And I never did, and plus I never been
I'm on a tier where no tears should ever fall
Cell block and locked - I never clock it y'all
'Cause time and time again time
They got me servin' to those and to them
I'm not a citizen
But ever when I catch a C-O
Sleepin' on the job - my plan is on go-ahead
On the strength, I'ma tell you the deal
I got nothin' to lose
'Cause I'm goin' for the steel

You know I caught a C-O
Fallin' asleep on death row
I grabbed his gun - then he did what I said so
And everyman's got served
Along with the time they served
Decency was deserved
To understand my demands
I gave a warnin' - I wanted the governor, y'all
And plus the warden to know
That I was innocent -
Because I'm militant
Posing a threat, you bet it's fuckin' up the government
My plan said I had to get out and break north
Just like with Oliver's neck
I had to get off - my boys had the feds in check
They couldn't do nuthin'
We had a force to instigate a prison riot
This is what it takes for peace
So I just took the piece
Black for Black inside time to cut the leash
Freedom to get out - to the ghetto - no sell out
6 C-Os we got we ought to put their head out
But I'll give 'em a chance, cause I'm civilized
As for the rest of the world, they can't realize
A cell is hell - I'm a rebel so I rebel
Between bars, got me thinkin' like an animal
Got a woman C-O to call me a copter
She tried to get away, and I popped her
Twice, right
Now who wanna get nice?
I had 6 C-Os, now it's 5 to go
And I'm serious - call me delirious
But I'm still a captive
I gotta rap this
Time to break as time grows intense
I got the steel in my right hand
Now I'm lookin' for the fence

I ventured into the courtyard
Followed by 52 brothers
Bruised, battered, and scarred but hard
Goin' out with a bang
Ready to bang out
But power from the sky
And from the tower shots rang out
A high number of dose - yes
And some came close
Figure I trigger my steel
Stand and hold my post
This is what I mean - an anti-nigger machine
If I come out alive and then they won't - come clean
And then I threw up my steel bullets - flew up
Blew up, who shot...
What, who, the bazooka was who
And to my rescue, it was the S1Ws
Secured my getaway, so I just gotaway
The joint broke, from the black smoke
Then they saw it was rougher thatn the average bluffer
'Cause the steel was black, the attitude exact
Now the chase is on tellin' you to c'mon
53 brothers on the run, and we are gone

Monday, October 29, 2007

32 weeks

This picture was actually taken about a week ago, so I wasn't quite 32 weeks yet. But as you can see, we're growing!

Arthur will be posting soon about his adventures with Flava Flave (sp? Rebecca, what's "flava") and Chuck D this past weekend.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Blogging is part of my infinite nature

It was unseasonably warm today and the warmth radiating off the glass of the car, combined with the music of Eddy Vedder's first solo album (the soundtrack to Into the Wild) put me in a reflective mood. The weather was resisting change, still clinging to a fragment of summer, but one could also sense the hopelessness of the last days of warm weather, knowing that they must give way to the cold and snow of winter sooner or later. It was more sad than noble...the weather not wanting to succumb, but knowing it must...everything on the cusp. Our lives are on the cusp, constantly oscillating (in temperament and thought, if not physical circumstance) between known and unknown, complacency and adventure, domestication and wildness. Herman Hesse writes in Steppenwolf that in order to find ones' true self (to be born new and free) one must destroy the world she currently inhabits, including all habits, conceptions, biases, paradigms. There is probably something liberating about destroying all our notions of the world. But the real dilemma is how to implement or live the new paradigm once the epiphany has occurred. Like autumn hanging onto summer before giving way to winter, we grasp pathetically at what we know and lack the courage to plunge into a new way of life, perhaps because we sense that it will be cold and snowy, dark and lonely. How long will it take Astrid to form a sense of the world and her place in it? How long till she is able to destroy it and replace it with another? Will she be able to act on her new vision? Will that vision have to be destroyed as well? How often must we shed the warmth of a summer world for the stinging cold of winter? This year, my winter shall take on new meaning, new poignancy, and new life...afterall, I bought myself a new set of twin tip, all mountain skis from Blue House...that and we are having a baby.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I'm back

Life has been busy and painful lately. I'm just trying to make it through 4 more weeks of work...
My pelvic bones have been doing a great job of preparing for delivering a baby and I'm feeling it. Rebecca, is the same happening to you? I keep telling Arthur that anything I said about how easy pregnancy is during the second trimester should be disregarded.
On a better note, Astrid is such a maniac and moves so much. I love it. I think that's what I'll miss most about being pregnant. Arthur continues to expose her to the writings of Borges, Neruda, Rilke and Hopkins and the songs of Woody Guthrie and Pink Floyd. Being pregnant with Arthur has been one of the most fun things I've ever done. Only two months left and I'm starting to realize that that's no time at all. How crazy.

This weekend the Salt Lake Tribune wrote a piece on Will's Mormon Worker. Here is the site for everyone to check out.

Friday, September 28, 2007

My first post

Post, post, blog, blog, post, blog, post, blah, blah, blah. Everyone happy?


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Mormon Worker

(This is the only picture of the logo I could find-don't know who the guy is)

Will's Mormom anarchist/pacifist paper is finally out on print and on the web! Check it out:
I've only read a few of the articles, but I think that any paper that quotes scripture and Zach de la Rocha is worth reading.

I found the articles very interesting and maddening. Interesting because of the authors' knowledge of scripture and current political situations and their ability to intertwine the two in a way that makes blatant sense, and maddening because they're the truth and I feel like very few people actually know what the truth is. The truth being that we are a country that exploits other countries for our gain, while we remain blissfully ignorant and/or apathetic. I found the scriptures and prophets quoted very moving and surprisingly so relevant to our current political circumstances. We really are a people who should shun war and actively work against it (by voting for someone who promotes self-sufficiency and natural energy resources, and not using products that cause conflict, eg. diamonds, gasoline, sweat shop products, etc). Maybe Mormons can't all do it alone (I know that not buying gasoline is unfortunately not an option for most of us), but at least we'd know we were doing something to aid in world peace.

Many of you may say that war, poverty and sadness is simply a sign of the times. They're going to happen anyway. They're supposed to happen anyway. But that doesn't lessen our responsibility as Saints to "bear one another's burdens...comfort those who stand in need of comfort..." (Mos. 18: 8-9). Basically to be aware of others and not take lightly the fact that, as is stated in one of the articles, "we are living off the backs of laborers". The stakes are as high as ever now. We are the wealthiest people in the world (even if you think you're poor). What are we going to do with that wealth (even moreso in our case as Latter-Day Saints with the spiritual wealth we have been blessed with)? Can we afford to simply let ourselves and our families be taken up in the tide of oblivion, ignorance and consummerism? Is it what our faith teaches us? No! Our faith teaches us to be informed and do the right thing even if it's the harder thing.

Lastly, I don't know about all of you, but I can't help but feel so blessed for the life I have. I was telling Arthur the other night, "what are the chances of us being born in a first world country, having more than enough money for our needs, and on top of that all, being born into the restored Church and Gospel of Jesus Christ?" We are such a small percentage ( I wish I could throw out a statistic here, but you all know how small) and I feel such a huge responsibility to give back in any way possible.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Arthur is a blogger at heart

When I first started this blog Arthur said that he wanted nothing to do with it but I asked him anyway what he thought I should title it. He said, the quote from the VW German guy commercial. So that's where we got our title and I was so pleasantly surprised that he was participating!

Every once in a while Arthur checks out other blogs, including the Christopherson's. On Friday he came home and said, "The Christopherson's posts are funny because they always require (ask for) an answer from people who read them. You should post about that. And then, ask people what they wish they had known before they had their first baby". So this post is really a post from Arthur and the purpose is twofold:

1- To make (nice) fun of the Christophersons for making posts that asks their readers for comments, and

2- To do the same thing as them. What are five things you wish you had known before having your first baby? We're so excited to have Astrid in a few months but we also know that it won't all be peachy. (We're interested in responses even if you're not a parent yet).

Monday, September 10, 2007

Glendes, Keslers and VWs

Last weekend we got to hang out with the Keslers and Glendes. What a treat! (not in picture, Bjork Kesler)

On our outing, we also saw a huge moose:

Monday, September 3, 2007

Things are thieves of time

To top off our Labor Day weekend, Arthur and I went to the Broadway to watch The Eleventh Hour. Very humbling to say the least. I definitely recommend it. It's one of those movies that just pulls you out of your day to day life and says, this is what's happening to the world, do something.

I really liked something one of the scientists said: "Things are thieves of time".
We slave away at work so that we can buy Ipods, DVDs, go to Patagonia sales, etc. I even thought of blogging as somewhat of a time thief. I feel like this should be my new motto because it's just so easy to fall into the routine of working in order to buy things that we really don't need. How much do we really need? Not very much at all. Just enough to be able to have a place to live, eat and be clothed. But we are so bombarded by the media who tells us that we need a lot of material things, that consumerism is what life is about.

Another scientist said that children on average in the US spend 4 hours daily watching TV and can name 100's of advertisements, but are unable to name 12 native plants or animals in their area. How disheartening.

Although very depressing, the documentary ends with a message of hope. Individuals really can make a difference. One of hte interviewed women said that we get to "vote daily" about things. Every time we make a purchase, it means that yes, I agree with how/where this was made, the materials that made it, etc. It made me realize how informed we need to be in order to make a difference. How many items have I bought that were made in a maquila factory where girls are paid a dollar for a 14 hour work day? Probably too many.

Arthur and I only have one car. Sometimes it's inconvenient but after watching the doc, I'm so glad that we only have one + a bike. We make it work. And it may be inconvenient for us sometimes, but it should be a price we willingly want to pay to make a difference.

Another great example is Kristina (Arthur's sister) who just moved to Utah and along with her family, grew a huge garden in their backyard. It took A LOT of hard work, but now they are reaping hte benefits of tons of food that they didn't have to buy. They are able to share it with family and friends.

Anyway, just thought it was a really great message that we all need to hear on a daily basis. We need to find ways to give back to the planet for everything it provides us.

Here's one more website that Sarah sent Arthur and I a while ago in case you're interested:

Sunday, September 2, 2007

This is for you, Paul

Is this belly bigger than yours after last Thanksgiving?

(6 mos)

This is a significant picture because last time I attempted this climb I didn't make it up. I got to the ledge at the very top and just couldn't pull myself over. So for my birthday I told Arthur I wanted to go back and do it. We camped the night before up Little Cottonwood Canyon and in the morning went to "the rock". My first try was just like hte last time. I got to the top and just didn't have the strength to haul myself over. So Arthur went up and found a fairly good hold for me to use, and on my second try, without him pulling me up, I actually lugged my big belly over the ledge, smashing Astrid. But I did it and now I can write to my brother Lex (who is on a mission in Mesa) and tell him how hard core I am (he's an avid climber). He'll be so proud.

Monday, August 27, 2007

My new style

You know you need a new style when your scrubby husband wears more product in his hair than you. It's always really hard for me to get my hair cut when it's so long, but today wasn't so hard, especially when I saw the final product. My friend took a whole 45 minutes to style it, using a few tools and many products (a whole 42 minutes longer than it took me to do my hair on my wedding day). When Arthur saw it he loved it, which only made me cry because I'll never be able to do this on a regular basis. Or any basis for that matter, since the only thing I own is a blow dryer I bought at a garage sale.
We'll see what it looks like after I shower and don't do it, but I'm beginning to seriously think about getting a hair straightener.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

I've been indulging

For those of you who don't know, I have a gluten allergy. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, the components of basically all foods, or at least all good foods. I've been eating a gluten free (GF) diet since December and I've never felt better, but as the months pass, I'm starting to realize that I've also never been so depressed about food. I can't eat anything regular, like pancakes, waffles, doughnuts, bread, pasta, tortillas (flour), cake, brownies, cereal, ice cream with brownie or cookie chunks--in essence, everything worth eating. It's been really hard to get used to eating GF bread, pasta, pastries (which taste like cardboard), going out to eat and not being able to order what I really want and settling for a crappy salad (without croutons and asking if the dressing has wheat in it), and giving up my favorite fast food, Taco Bell. IT SUCKS. Additionally, the pregnancy has turned me into a feisty, mean, gluten-craving woman. About a week ago I caved in, knowing well the repercussions, and ate a McDonald's egg mc muffin. AND IT WAS SO GOOD. I actually didn't suffer too much, maybe because I didn't have much gluten in my system yet. But this caving in led to more, like a pesky bad habit that you keep telling yourself you'll change but never do because it is just so dang tasty. Since the egg mc muffin, I've eaten: two more egg mc muffins, the awesome rolls at KFC (with butter and honey), a tres leches cake from Cafe Rio, a burger from the Training Table, sourdough French toast, pancakes, Cafe Rio salad, and yes, my ultimate favorite, a turkey sandwich from The Dodo. And then I got sick. I have to admit that I think it's been kind of worth it. I hadn't eaten my most favorite foods for more than 8 months. Think about giving up your favorite foods. It sounds impossible. It isn't, but by doing so, you also give up a lot of happiness and sanity. Ask Arthur.

Is it crazy for me to be so driven by food? Please, especially now that I'm pregnant???

I'm trying to go back to eliminating it but can't seem to totally commit. I feel so conflicted. I'm writing a whole entry about this to show that this dilemma is constantly on my mind, torturing me. My days, sadly, are totally dictated by my diet and what I do and don't eat. If I eat GF I feel physically good, but very cheated. If I eat gluten foods, I feel physically bad, but so satisfied, fulfilled and happy.

Why do I have this curse?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

This is me at 22 weeks. Arthur is the brilliant photographer.

I'm feeling really good--good enought that I was actually able to make it to the top of Timp on Saturday! Arthur was so protective and helpful the whole hike, I don't think I would have been able to make it without him.
All in all the hike was awesome although we got off to a pretty bleak start. We woke up to rain in
the valley, which meant that it was probably pouring at the base of the mountain. I had thought about packing waterproof gear, but it had been so hot that I decided against it. Despite the rain, we geared up and started trekking up the mountain, all 11 of us, me, Arthur, Sarah, her boyfriend Ben, Kristina, Mike, Doug, Scott, Hugh, Meg and Drew.
After about treeline the weather started to clear up and we were able to dry off a bit before pushing up the rest of the way. And then, just as we were summitting we saw a cloud of rain rapidly coming over us. We had to book it up the rest of the way to avoid getting completely soaked although you can see in in the pictures from the summit that we got pretty wet anyway. We waited in the shack until the storm passed over us and then we started our decent, which was, and always is, the worst part of a long mountain climb. I'm still recovering today.
I think it will be at least another four years before I have the energy to do that climb again, but I'm so glad that I made it up.


And too tired to write anything.

Friday, August 17, 2007

I'm scared for tomorrow

Tomorrow Arthur's siblings and I are hiking Mt. Timpanogos as a birthday activity for Arthur's sister Sarah and I'm having serious doubts as to whether I will be able to summit or not. I've done it once before (remember Autumn, when I went with you and Barrett-it was your first date-and everyone had someone to cuddle with at the freezing top except for me) and have had a couple of other failed attempts, which I'm sure tomorrow will be as well. It's a long hike; about 9 miles up and 9 down. Although I've been running a few miles every other day, I don't think it will be sufficient training for 9 miles of uphill. I'm a little bummed because I'd really like to summit. I remember how awesome it felt to be at the top and see the valleys below while the cold air froze my face. I want to be able to sign in on the tattered log in the little shack where people huddle for some warmth.

Who knows, maybe I will make it up. I think of the indigenous women of Peru who do hikes like this everyday-with a kid strapped to their back. Why can't I be as hardcore as them?!

Anyway, wish me luck. I'll need it.

Friday, August 10, 2007

It's a...


I got suckered in... the world of blogging.

This blog is dedicated to my dear friends and family.

All our love,

J & A VanWagenen