Thursday, January 30, 2014

Guilty, Not Guilty, Guilty



What a FARCE!!!!

{You can tell it's going to be one of my passionate posts, can't you?}

Things have been so tense lately because there are all these questions...

Will we get the house?

Will the Broncos win the Superbowl?

Will Amanda Knox be found innocent {again}?

Yes, Amanda Knox has been on my mind a lot lately.

You might not know this about me, but I'm an Amanda Knox fan these days. When I first heard of this case in the news--crazy to think, that was back when I was just newly pregnant with Eisley--I heard the crazy things about her, and you probably have too. Cartwheels in the police station? Buying lingerie right after roommate is murdered? Tells police she was there at the crime? Calls herself Foxy Knoxy? All that made it not so hard to believe when the media started portraying her as a vixen.

It all sounded really fishy. At that time I found the case mildly interesting and thought, wow, what a crazy world.

Then she was convicted. I stopped thinking about it.

Then, years later, she is acquitted and released. That got my attention. I started reading the articles about her. While the European news (i.e. Daily Mail, etc.) was still painting her as the sex-crazed vixen who lied and did odd things, the United States media was starting to show a new side to Amanda Knox. It was through the American articles that I learned: there is a whole other side to this story.

So, last year when Amanda's book, Waiting to be Heard, came out, I immediately read it. Rather, I listened to it on audio book, which I highly recommend because Amanda reads the book herself. Hearing her memoir in her own voice is really something.

Everyone should read her book. It is a cautionary tale. It explains so much. Not explains like excuses, explains like, clears it up completely, makes you think, "Ohhh...that's the truth behind the buying-underwear story. Makes total sense now. Heck, that's something I might do." It really makes you see the terrifying way the media can twist truths to make you see anything they want you to see.

It also details her life in an Italian prison, which is much different than prison here in the US. The book explains how the language barrier was an issue, and probably helped the Italian police in getting her to say seemingly incriminating things.

You see a whole other side to Amanda when you read her book. It doesn't just come out through her words, but her tone and her beliefs and the grace in which she handles all the criticism she gets. She was an incredibly naive, friendly, goofy girl who went off to Italy to study abroad for a year, trying to "find herself" and gain independence. She was in Italy for just 5 weeks before Kercher was mudered. She barely spoke any Italian at that time {and you better believe that tainted their interrogations of her}. She had known her supposed accomplice for a few days. She didn't do cartwheels around the police station, she was stretching after hours of sitting through the night while being questioned. A friendly police officer noted to her that she was very flexible, to which she responded that she did yoga. He asked her to do the splits, she showed him she could {still thinking she was just there to help out with the investigation}, and at that moment the same officer who struck her upside the head later walked in and saw. Next thing you know, the news is saying she's doing cartwheels while being interrogated. Maybe the Italian to English translation of splits/cartwheels got mixed up. You see how everything was just twisted?

In fact, I'd never related to Knox before, but while reading her book, the person she describes in college before Kercher's murder reminds me very much of my young self. Naive, goofy, maybe a little nerdy. Her book is a horror story of how everything that could possibly go wrong with Meredith Kercher's murder investigation, went wrong. And Amanda Knox was the only stupid one left there to act as scape goat.

She spent years in prison for a crime that she so obviously did not commit.

And now? Italy can't admit they made a huge mistake. This most recent trial was not about evidence {because they really had none} it was about on politics.

It's about an American girl pinned for killing a Brit in Italy, and the Italian police needing to save face for some very serious mistakes they made early on. They seem to accomplish this by forcing a round peg in a square hole and convicting Amanda (AGAIN) when she was so obviously not there. I, for one, just think the Italian judges and prosecutors look like a bunch of fools. But Amanda, in the eyes of most Europeans, is nothing more than a crazy, spoiled American wild child.

I didn't just read her book, I read everything I could find. I even found myself reading translated court transcripts.

The prosecutor's case was built on character assassination. They have no decent DNA evidence at the scene of the crime that implicates Knox. Uncomprehendingly, they continue to go after Knox while there is a man, Rudy Guede, who's DNA was all over the scene of the crime. He even left his...ahem...waste in the toilet. He admitted to being at the scene of the crime. He was sentenced to 16 years and is currently in prison in Italy. They have their man!

Yet, because of a botched police investigation--one in which the village police even allowed Meredith Kercher's roommates and friends to traipse throughout the house instead of waiting for the military police to arrive (they would have known to keep everyone out of the evidence)--they go after the one roommate who was too naive to lawyer-up and leave the country. The one girl who willingly walked into a police station in order to help with the investigation, and then found herself being interrogated for hours and hours, hit upon the head, and screamed at. Yes, those are the actions of a guilty person.

Amanda, after hours of being shouted at and interrogated and struck upside the head, finally incriminated herself in a state of confusion. Under such circumstances, that is hardly anything new. As soon as she left and had time to think, she immediately retracted her statement. They continued to use everything she said and did against her. Amanda meanwhile, knowing she was innocent, had absolutely no idea how she really should have been protecting herself. You could even say, the poor girl was a bit stupid about it. But guilty of murder? The evidence just doesn't agree.

Let's not forget Ryan Ferguson, who was just recently released from prison after 10 years for a crime he didn't commit. This stuff happens. It's scary. We need to be aware of the media and how much influence it has.

The fact is, they have no real compelling evidence and no motive.

Yet they convicted her and sentenced Amanda to 25 years. Meanwhile, the guy who did admit to being at the crime and his DNA agrees with his confession, got only 16 years. What the...?

Are you beginning to see what a FARCE this Italian justice system is?

Mignini, the prosecutor who went after Amanda Knox, is the same guy who made a fool out of himself before Kercher's murder by trying to convict journalists and police for killing a doctor in a satanic ritual {same excuse he used for Knox, satanic sex games}. The doctor had committed suicide. Mignini was later charged with abuse of office.

This is the same guy who went after Knox!

I've been counting down to January 30th for a while now. I woke up this morning and the first thing I did was check the news. Later in the morning, it was announced that the verdict would come at 2 p.m. MST.

I had to run an errand to the mall to return something, but I was in my car at 2 p.m., watching the live CNN coverage on my phone.

They found her guilty.

Again.

After finding her innocent last time. I couldn't believe it.

Well which is it ITALY?! Their justice system is a whole other story...it's cartoonish in nature. Their system is antiquated, it's so old. The court rooms are unruly and disorganized. Even the Italians have no faith in their justice system.

I'm passionate about this and writing this post for the following reasons:

Pray for Amanda. I believe in her innocence 1000%. In fact, when  you look at the facts of this case, it's an absolute joke that most Europeans--albeit loyal to their British Kercher--still believe Knox is guilty. Sadly and tragically, Kercher is dead. But there is another victim here who continues to live her life under scrutiny and fear of the Italian justice system, joke that it is.

We need to all be very aware of how the media can spin things. Amanda's true character has been absolutely trashed beyond recognition by the media and the Italian police. This sort of thing could happen to anyone! Sometimes what they say on the news is so convincing. But Amanda's case makes me frightened at how they can turn the image of an incredibly naive, happy-go-lucky college student into a sex-crazed murdering monster.

Amanda Knox. Guilty, AGAIN.

I am gutted for her right now.

Italy, you're an embarrassment.

Seriously, read her book. I strongly recommend it. You might have heard a few things in the news, but you have no idea the crazy details you haven't heard. You can also read this story done by Rolling Stone, it's one of the best, most accurate ones I've read from the media outlets. It's older though, so a few more details in the book make it worth reading.

In her book she writes that, while in prison, Amanda's one comfort was the priest who visited her and offered compassion. I sincerely hope she's putting her life in God's hands right now. He is certainly bigger than the Italian justice system. There is talk that the US won't extradite her because of our double jeopardy law, and maybe also because we're the only country in the world to see past the media hype over "Foxy Knoxy". I really hope that's true.

Cheers,
Heather

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Cleaning The Closet

DSC_0564
The Door
So we're in this really awkward stage where we are waiting for underwriting to go through OR not go through. We have to prepare to move next month, however, we may not be moving next month. Will the Dutch door be mine? Only time will tell. Eventually, some time, hopefully this year, we'll be moving!

Our loan officer says he's 95% sure everything is going to go off without a hitch--and that was before "our" home appraised at value {with no conditions!} just yesterday {good news!}--but I'm more feeling like this is a 45% thing. Why? I've written it all down, but that's for another post. This process feels very fragile. It's obvious I'm not handling the unknown very well.

One of the things on our daunting to-do list regarding this rental was
The Closet

Dun dun dun!

Justin and I would mention it like this, "Oh, we have to patch that hole in the wall, we need to replace that soap holder tile I broke in the bathroom, put the ugly blinds back up...and then there's...The Closet." {Screeching violins.} We'd look at each other, shudder, and quickly change the subject.

Well, The Closet is in Violet's room. In case you don't remember, Viv's room used to be my craft room. It was FULL of all kinds of my junk quality stuff. When Violet was born and needed a room of her own to nap in, we had to change my craft room into Violet's room. So we made it a pretty little room with pink, yellow, and gray colors.

The Closet, however, was always there...looming in the corner...full of leftover crap amazing stuff that I had no where else to put in this little rental. {Our new maybe-home has twice the square footage and tons of storage space in the basement. Like, 7 closets!}

The Closet...'twas not a pretty sight.

It just so happens that I woke up on Monday morning to a snow day and the urge to purge. Justin brought in a trash can, we filled it thrice. The items I wanted to keep went into various boxes: gift wrap, craft room, baby clothes, and more craft junk {there, I said it}.

It was indeed a daunting task, but it turned out to be almost fun because it was actually like a walk down memory lane. I took a few photos of some of the things I unearthed in The Closet and thought I'd share them with you, embarrassing as most of them are. Maybe a few things will surprise you about my checkered past? Here goes...


Cleaning the closet
So yeah. That's what it looked like to start, after 4 years of renting here.
It was basically the dump, a black hole. When company was coming over, and I needed somewhere to stash that gift wrap/holiday decor/yarn/junk/children really quickly, it went in...The Closet.

First, let's check out some of these photos.
Cleaning the closet
I found some albums! If you're Facebook friends with me, you've already seen some of these. Above is Justin and I at homecoming in 2000. Below is Justin and I heading to prom (2002), also featuring my sister and her husband. 
Cleaning the closet
True story: I spent all 4 years of high school convinced I was the fattest girl there. I'm actually more secure about my body now than I was with my size 6 body in this photo {I'd lost weight right before prom}. Sigh...

Speaking of sisters, here's our rockin' corny family portraits sibling shoot! Note our perfectly coifed 90s flipout/under, curled only at the ends--probably with a Conair 1.5"--as 90s style dictates. Shirts compliments of Old Navy, because 1998.
Cleaning the closet
Moving on below, you'll see our 1990s sweatshirt style. I remember this day because we went fly fishing with my dad near Leadville and very nearly got killed by lightning as we ran to dad's Pathfinder after a sudden downpour overwhelmed us. Lightning struck about 20 feet from us, kid you not. True story. Almost died. Should be famous. 
Cleaning the closet

My sister & I at Christmas. 2000? I loved those pink sports pants {Old Navy}.
Cleaning the closet
Speaking of albums, here's a page out of the half-done scrapbook I made as a teenager. I spent two weeks touring Wales and England with the Young Voices of Colorado when I was 15. 
Cleaning the closet
Speaking of scrapbooks, I rediscovered the awesome HUGE album of antique postcards that my mother-in-law bought me at an auction several years ago as a birthday gift. I love using these images in crafts. I love reading the messages on them, and also decorating with the seasonal ones. 
Cleaning the closet
Speaking of crafts...turns out I did decoupage long before I had a craft room. This is a daily planner I "made" using cut scraps from the dELiA*s CATALOG! Oh man...dELiA*s makes me miss the 90s so bad. 
Cleaning the closet
Here's what I was doing on May 15, 2003: Luther Presentation!
Cleaning the closet 
Seriously. Incredible how much stuff I had in The Closet
Cleaning the closet
True story: I'm horrible at keeping diaries. At least I have a nice blog to make up for it. I started about 20 journals during my youth. ALL of them have about 3 pages written in before I forgot about them. Most of them started out of my angst, whatever was bugging me at the moment. {Now I just blog, I know you all love my rants.} 

Here's just one of the diaries I found in The Closet. Funny and embarrassing to read. I rip them up and burn them when I find my old diaries sitting around. Apparently when I wrote this, we were close to getting married {at 19}. But 10 years, 3 kids, and house inspection later...here we are! 
Cleaning the closet

Speaking of our wedding {at 19} here's my diamond papers, came across those in The Closet. I don't know why I'd ever need this but every once in a while I take it out and look at it. Then put it away. I do love my heart-shaped diamond. 
Cleaning the closet

Ahahahaha!
True story: I once thought I'd learn Gaelic. #dork
Cleaning the closet
Sadly, there was also a "Learn German" book and "Violin for Beginners" in The Closet. As of today, I cannot speak Gaelic, play the violin, or say much more in German other than what I remember from high school. Jah! Nein! Wo ist meine Socke?

But here is ONE thing I did start and finish. I found all my cake decorating class certificates in The Closet
Cleaning the closet
Along with the manual to the really awesome flip phone 
with a camera that I once owned. 
Who else felt cool when they got their first FLIP PHONE? It was all sassy when you'd snap it shut after a phone call. Why did I ever keep this?
Cleaning the closet
Sometimes my Mac-loving friends tease me that I should switch to Macs and an iPhone and my life would be better. Well, here's a photo to prove, because I don't think they believe me: Been there. Done that. {And my iBook was in the repair shop, like, constantly.}
Cleaning the closet
Ahh, the one shred of organization that I found in The Closet. Good thing I have all my pay check stubs from 7 years ago. Good thing I kept them so organized. Good thing I haven't used this file cabinet for 7 years. Good thing when we move, we have a great little file cabinet to keep us organized at the new house!
Cleaning the closet
My great-grandmother's mid-mod painting was also found in The Closet. I love this painting. I should send it to my sister. Also, the Christmas candy tins I bought about 3 Christmases ago at Hobby Lobby...and never used. This project helped me realize just how much money I've wasted over the years. 
Cleaning the closet
Speaking of wasted money and unused things, I bought this toy when Eisley was a baby. I got it at US Toys and thought it'd be one of those great toddler activities that would last through the ages. NOT! Why?
Cleaning the closet
We never ended up using it because:
"Includes eight 15 1/2" scarves...(Scarfs sold seperately.)" Lame.
Cleaning the closet
So all that mess was tossed, donated, and boxed up to be moved to the next house. Now, we have an empty closet in Violet's room and just another to-do checked off the list. 
Cleaning the closet
Coming up next...
The Garage!

Dun dun dun.

Cheers,
Heather

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Paxton's Song

For as long as I can remember, Eisley has always been our little singer-songwriter. When she was just two, she came up with a song for her vintage Fisher-Price Happy Apple that went:


Turn it around
Drip water down
A sweet apple-face!

She sang it constantly.

She also uses her songs to cope and express herself. When the car broke down or when Violet went to the hospital with an injury, Eisley got it out through song. She sits around singing about things that are going on, and we've gotten used to her singing storytelling.

This is a song Eisley has come up with about her brother Paxton {not to be confused with Paxton-lot Party, another song the girls love to sing}. She's been singing it for months now; it's kind of cute. Today I figured we might as well get it down on record. Here is Eisley singing Paxton's song, with Violet as backup:


You might recognize the tune, Scottish folk song The Bonnie Banks o' Lock Lomond. But her version is not about the lakes of Scotland, she sings about her baby brother instead. The first portion is incoherent, but the last part she sings:

It's a bella looking boy!
He's a bella looking boy!
It's a bella looking bank in the backyard.

Sometimes it's "bonnie looking boy" and if Paxton just happens to have his rabbit toy with him then it's "bunny looking boy". Anyway, it will be fun to see where this singing and song writing passion takes her.

That's all.

Cheers,
Heather

PS - I keep writing posts about this home-shopping/buying process. I don't have the guts to post them yet. Keep us in your prayers?

Friday, January 17, 2014

Stand by


Everything is up in the air. It's like we're watching these little puzzle pieces of life hang in the air for a moment, about to come back down, and wondering where they will land. This should be fun...

We're under contract on a house, in case you didn't know. The inspection is today.

I've started writing posts about this process because I want to record and remember this season of life, but those posts sit unpublished. It was either holding off on publishing them until and IF there is a closing on this specific house, or I thought about making my blog temporarily private.

In the age of Google, I just want to keep the details to myself until things are said and done. {Look at me, being private for once!...Sort of.}

Plus, if I'd have made my blog temporarily private, I'd have had to send out one a million email invites to my mom all those people who read my blog.

My own mom hasn't commented on my blog since August 19th, 2013. True story. In the world of blogging, I've sunk to a new low.  Even my mother won't comment.

Anyway, Mom, you can expect to read those posts, post-dated. Please, don't comment.

{She always says, when I tease her about not commenting, "I know you don't really want your mother to comment on your blog all the time! I probably would just embarrass you."}
***

So another thing up in the air is Violet and her injury. Again! I have to be private here. Very odd for me. I'll tell any one almost anything about myself, if they just ask me.

You might be aware of the fact that she was injured. She hasn't walked since the injury happened, I'm not at all exaggerating. It's upsetting to see the child who started walking at 8 months of age and has not stopped since...stop.

I really have a lot to say about what happened and my feelings about it, but I can't for now. Not until she's 100% recovered. Right now, we're looking at more doctor appointments, I'll say that. I'll also add that yes, we were right there and witnessed what happened. It was a very scary thing to see. Also, no, Violet was not doing anything she shouldn't have been doing. As for the details...I'll 'splain later, mmkay?

***

So, file this under things only parents say:

"The Bible says you were fearfully and wonderfully made by God...so no, Eisley, your brains won't drip out of your nose."

She has a cold and lots of questions. Always lots of questions.

I love being able to work in some scripture when she asks questions, and I often use God to comfort her {i.e. "No, God didn't even make monsters that could hide in your closet."} But sometimes they make for some interesting conversations, like how God made sure when He was creating us that our brains wouldn't slide out of our noses, no matter how hard we blow.

Got to love those small minded folk, children.

"Aww, that's so sweet," said Eisley, as Justin kissed me goodbye this morning.

So, hopefully all goes well at the inspection. As for now, regarding everything, please stand by.

Cheers,
Heather

Thursday, January 9, 2014

(-_-')

20140107_194359
Things are a little tense around here this week.

Turns out the home buying process is just as emotionally demanding as we expected,
or maybe worse?
This has been a week full of
making offers,
negotiating prices,
racing downtown for homebuyer's classes,
speaking to multiple loan officers/brokers,
what ifs,
how tos,
as ifs,
and
basically freaking out over major decisions.


Silly distractions have been welcome moments of relief.
Good thing we have two daughters who can pull of silly in their sleep.
20140107_183224
My body is showing signs of stress. We've both had headaches and knots in our stomachs.
I've got one of those sores on the back of my tongue that show up when I'm stressed.
{Making my speech slurred.}
Also a few pimples, and maybe some new gray hairs?


Justin and I are both on edge.
Amazingly, we're not fighting {yet} or disagreeing about these decisions.
We're just trying to figure things out.
Though we've been short with the kids and thus are feeling like bad, mean parents.
We can do better there.
I am ashamed.


Home shopping is sort of fun, but also very overwhelming. I want it to be over. The market is crazy right now. Interest rates are rising. We don't necessarily have the buying power that the other buyers--including investors--have. It's super competitive right now, and it will just get worse as we get closer to summer.
20140107_194457
Yes.
We are finally--FINALLY--to the point where we can make offers on homes we love.
For that, we're grateful.
But we're also realizing how hard it is to fall in love with a home enough to make an offer, without falling in love with it too hard so that when your offer is rejected, you're not devastated.
Can we repeat that process multiple times?
Sure, but I'll probably look like this when we finally close on a house.


Despite our funk,
these kids are their same cute, sweet & naughty, sinner & saint selves.
{This evening while I was making dinner, Violet found a bottle of nail polish and did herself a mani and pedi. It stopped my heart when I smelled the nail polish and knew--who else--that she had found some and obviously opened it...but the kid actually did a good job and there was no mess to clean up. Still...I thought I had all those nail polishes boxed up in the hall closet? How does she do it?}
20140107_201707
Pray for us?
We need wisdom.
And patience.
Also a maid would be nice, because you should see the state of this house.

In the meantime, we're trying to keep things going around here.
Like blowing off some steam with Just Dance:




And watching the baby discover the joy of splashing during bathtime:




He gives his momma kisses.
Big, slobbery, open-mouthed kisses on whatever piece of my face he can access.
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Now, if you'll excuse me...
Justin wants to talk with me about budgets and offers.


So, I have a plane for Mexico to catch.
Gotta run.


Cheers?
Heather
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