Friday, November 28, 2008

What does the Turkey Say?





Thanks to the Albrechts for making this a fun, memorable, sweet Thanksgiving. We'll let them make their own announcement, but, suffice it to say, it was our most exciting Thanksgiving EVER!
UPDATE--The Albrechts have their THRILLING news on their blog now. Go check it out. So fun...even if you don't know them!

Monday, November 24, 2008


Ooh! As fun as discussing the rights and wrongs of homosexuality has been, it's time for another weekly summary!

On Monday, we continued another Sherrill tradition: the Thankful Turkey. Some samples of what we're thankful for this week:
  • Good employment (Ryan)
  • Pacifiers (Jessica)
  • Happiness! Haa! Haa! (Emma)
  • Our Bodys (Gade, sic)
  • Sisters (J.R.)
  • "doing snakes" ? (Seth)

On Tuesday, we yelled at all of our kids and told them to get in the car. NOW! And proceeded to our first Love and Logic Parenting class. With 5 kids, we figured it was high time to learn how to parent them. It was so funny, because as we brought them in, all the parents (TOTALLY including us) are talking sooo nicely to their kids. Like to prove to everyone: "I'm a good parent. I'm just taking this class to get a teeny bit better. See how appropriately I handle my child?"

On Wednesday, we started my favorite time of the year! Halfdays for the (above pictured)elementary school kids! When they come home all extra early, right at the beginning at naptime, during drizzly freezing weather that makes playing outside impossible, before the kindergarteners come home so I have to drive over and pick Jane up later (instead of the big kids walking her home), while I'm still getting used to a newborn. It's awesome. Can you tell how very much I love half-days and the geniuses who think this is the best way to handle parent-teacher conferences. Oh! AND it lasts for a week and half! How great is that??

On Thursday, my awesome friend Kerry, who had no good light and extra kids she was watching, took pictures of Faith for our Christmas card/Birth Announcement. They turned out great and, in great opposition to past years when I've hand made the cards, I got them done, and ordered in 1 hour on Saturday. It was the best feeling ever!

Also on Thursday, Seth wrecked the wallpaper that is, apparently, too close to the Not Listening Chair. Following is the conversation Ryan had with Seth regarding his egregious mistake.

Dad: "What happened last time you pulled down the wall paper?"
Seth: "Mom put me in my room."
Dad: "No, last time you did this you got spanked" (ed. note: we do not believe in spanking. Or so I thought. Apparently when you wreck the wallpaper, Dad spanks you). "Do you think you should get another spank?"
Seth: "Yes."
Dad:" No! You think I should spank you right now cause you did this?"
Seth: "Yes. But not meanly. "(proceeds to demonstrates soft-bum patting. While grinning). "Wook Dad, my animal can cwimb the twee." (Demonstrates ox climbing tree).

Which is why we are taking the previously referenced parenting class. We obviously need the help.

On Friday, we had aforementioned Parent-Teacher Conferences. It was a good experience. We have good kids. So good in fact, that halfway through Friday Jobs, we bagged the rest of the jobs and took them all to ColdStone for ice cream as a reward.

On Saturday, Ryan risked his masculinity(look at him trying to appear blase in the picture I made him take) by going with me to Twilight. Which I totally loved. I am a medium fan. I think they are fun books, but I didn't watch any trailers or count the minutes till the movie came out. Maybe it was these mild expectations, but I thought the casting was good (except Rosalie, I'm with you on this Jessica A.) and I liked the acting. AND Faith slept the whole time. All in all, a perfect date.

Should this post be too tame, please go back and re-read how we feel about Gay Marriage. We'll try to post a Pro-Life blog soon, too, just to keep things exciting around here.

Or not.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Time ran out

I didn't mean to publish that previous post yet. I had published it with a future date intending to add some more to the post before it was posted on the blog. But I couldn't get back to it in time so I kept delaying the posting by a few more days to allow myself some imaginary open window of time to get back to the post and finish it. Well, I finally forgot to extend the deadline and so the post was published prematurely. After finishing my initial pass on the post I was nagged by the fact that it was incomplete. I had only hit the periphery, but the heart of the issue was missing.

I unknowingly avoided the core issue because I was afraid of being perceived by those who didn't agree as harsh, intolerant and ignorant. But, as I mulled over the post I realized that the obvious elephant in the room that wasn't being directly addressed was homosexual sex. Namely, is it a correct/good/moral behavior?

The problem with discussing this question in isolation is that it targets a single behavior and elicits harsh accusations from its antagonists and defensive anger from its supporters. So the discussion quickly devolves into a squabble of hyperbole and exaggeration. It paints those who partake in the behavior as bad if the answer is affirmative and good if the answer is negative. What is omitted is the glaring fact that we all struggle with maintaining morality regardless of our position on this single issue.

We all have strengths and we all have struggles. Yet oddly, they don't seem to be measured out uniformly. Some are gifted athletes, while others struggle for mediocrity and still others are missing limbs or vital organs. Likewise some struggle with depression while others seem to be predisposed to an eternally rosy disposition. It doesn't matter who we are or what we may seem to everyone else, we all have our own areas where we shine and where we stumble. What makes life even more complex is that our areas of strength and weakness are checkered and patchy and wonderfully mixed up.

My personal positions on what is and is not moral are derived from an amalgam of personal experience and the Christian doctrines to which I ascribe. I believe homosexual sex is immoral. It is immoral like lying and fornication and covetousness and ingratitude and addiction and lust are all immoral. Oh the list of possible immoralities is too vast to capture. My own list of favorites is too long to capture as well and frankly too personal to share with the World Wide Web.

So the fact that someone seems predisposed towards homosexuality does not disqualify it as an "immorality" to me. Nothing would be immoral if the litmus test was whether or not there was a natural inclination towards it. I am naturally inclined to a myriad of things that I have learned through sad experiences are not good. The fact that some people are genetically inclined to become alcoholics does not mean that alcoholism is correct/good/moral.

This is a difficult pill to swallow because abiding by its precepts necessitates discomfort and suffering by those inclined towards it. Is this fair? No, it isn't fair. I feel deep sympathy for those who struggle with this. I am genuinely sorry for their plight. I have read about real people whose bodies can't tolerate sunlight and are forced to live their entire lives outcast from the sun. I know children who suffer from severe physical disorders like cerebral palsy and Down's syndrome. My heart aches for their suffering in much the same way.

I can not argue that we all suffer equally in life. This has not been my experience. However, we all do suffer from our own maladies and predispositions and discomforts. One benefit of our suffering is that it can breed a greater capacity for empathy for others that suffer along side us.

My position on the morality of homosexual sex informs my position on the morality of gay marriage. I understand that my views are not shared with everyone. There are those who choose a different set of morals. I respect their opinions even if I cannot embrace them. I would not vote to change the laws to legalize today’s illicit drugs even though it would alleviate the suffering of some segments of the population at the expense of other segments. It would expand their freedom to practice their own set of morals. I would oppose it. As a citizen, I have my 1 vote on what I think is moral and what I think is not.

Likewise, I would choose to cast my 1 vote in favor of not changing our traditional views of marriage to incorporate gay marriage. I do not understand why civil unions cannot be constructed to afford those who enter into long term homosexual relationships the same protections and benefits that traditional marriage offers. I want to keep the lines between my morality on this issue clear and precise. Some argue that this makes the issue one of mere semantics and ideals, and I guess for me that is precisely what this issue is about.

Thoughts on Prop 8

I have run across various opinions on proposition 8 which was recently voted upon in CA. I had a period of indifference on the subject due to my status as a Washingtonian. As I have observed reactions from those who are of my faith and those who are not I have become more thoughtful about the subject and formed my own opinion.

To those not of my faith,

It is the inherent function of government to establish a common morality. From Hammurabi's code until the most recent congressional session, societies attempt to define what is in their common good. Few question laws prohibiting murder, theft, rape, tax evasion, etc. because they are so widely agreed upon. However, we become uncomfortable as our government attempts to legislate for or against behaviors and activities that we are not so readily in agreement with. It is then, that some erroneously begin to posit that governments have no right to legislate morality. They fail to recognize that ALL of our laws in one way or another establish a common morality. Proposition 8 is no different.

So when it comes down to it, proposition 8 is a question of morality. Couching the discussion in terms of civil rights pushes the moral questions away from homosexuality toward bigotry. Suddenly, the proposition is recast as the "Am I a bigot?" proposition. The argument is boldly made that anyone who is for proposition 8 must hate gay people. This more bellicose and less genuine argument is an easier one to win. Rather than debate the opposition, we need only yell bigot.

I guess this is where I want to interject that I am no bigot. I do not hate people based on their sexual orientation. I think there is a profound reason why when asked which is the "great" commandment Christ taught "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." This is foundational to all of God's laws. Unfortunately there are misguided souls who spew hate and terror at abortion clinics and at gay pride events in an attempt to further their misconceptions of Christianity. This contradicts Christ's teachings. There ought not be such unkindness, harshness, or antipathy for any of us who fail daily to meet the high bar that Christianity sets.

We love people around us despite easily identifying points of disagreement with them. Most often we find this in our own families. Even when these disagreements are rooted in deep characteristic components of personality. And so it is with defining marriage. I can disagree with the definition my neighbor chooses to accept regardless of why he does so. I can even do this without hating him for it. It seems disingenuous to accuse me of hating an entire population most of whom I don't even know simply based upon the fact that I am not in favor of revamping marriage.

To those who share my faith,

I was introduced to this talk from Neal A. Maxwell, an apostle and prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ. Though given 30 years ago, it is surprisingly current. It communicates my feelings on proposition 8 succinctly.

Discipleship includes good citizenship; and in this connection, if you are careful students of the statements of the modern prophets, you will have noticed that with rare exceptions–especially when the First Presidency has spoken out–the concerns expressed have been over moral issues, not issues between political parties. The declarations are about principles, not people, and causes, not candidates. On occasions, at other levels in the Church, a few have not been so discreet, so wise, or so inspired.

But make no mistake about it, brothers and sisters; in the months and years ahead, events will require of each member that he or she decide whether or not he or she will follow the First Presidency. Members will find it more difficult to halt longer between two opinions (see 1 Kings 18:21).

President Marion G. Romney said, many years ago, that he had "never hesitated to follow the counsel of the Authorities of the Church even though it crossed my social, professional, or political life" (CR, April 1941, p. 123). This is a hard doctrine, but it is a particularly vital doctrine in a society which is becoming more wicked. In short, brothers and sisters, not being ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ includes not being ashamed of the prophets of Jesus Christ.

We are now entering a period of incredible ironies. Let us cite but one of these ironies which is yet in its subtle stages: we shall see in our time a maximum if indirect effort made to establish irreligion as the state religion. It is actually a new form of paganism that uses the carefully preserved and cultivated freedoms of Western civilization to shrink freedom even as it rejects the value essence of our rich Judeo-Christian heritage. . . .

Brothers and sisters, irreligion as the state religion would be the worst of all combinations. Its orthodoxy would be insistent and its inquisitors inevitable. Its paid ministry would be numerous beyond belief. Its Caesars would be insufferably condescending. Its majorities–when faced with clear alternatives–would make the Barabbas choice, as did a mob centuries ago when Pilate confronted them with the need to decide.

Your discipleship may see the time come when religious convictions are heavily discounted. M. J. Sobran also observed, "A religious conviction is now a second-class conviction, expected to step deferentially to the back of the secular bus, and not to get uppity about it" (Human Life Review, Summer 1978, p. 58). This new irreligious imperialism seeks to disallow certain of people's opinions simply because those opinions grow out of religious convictions. Resistance to abortion will soon be seen as primitive. Concern over the institution of the family will be viewed as untrendy and unenlightened.

In its mildest form, irreligion will merely be condescending toward those who hold to traditional Judeo-Christian values. In its more harsh forms, as is always the case with those whose dogmatism is blinding, the secular church will do what it can to reduce the influence of those who still worry over standards such as those in the Ten Commandments. It is always such an easy step from dogmatism to unfair play–especially so when the dogmatists believe themselves to be dealing with primitive people who do not know what is best for them. It is the secular bureaucrat's burden, you see.

Am I saying that the voting rights of the people of religion are in danger? Of course not! Am I saying, "It's back to the catacombs?" No! But there is occurring a discounting of religiously-based opinions. There may even be a covert and subtle disqualification of some for certain offices in some situations, in an ironic "irreligious test" for office.

However, if people are not permitted to advocate, to assert, and to bring to bear, in every legitimate way, the opinions and views they hold that grow out of their religious convictions, what manner of men and women would they be, anyway? Our founding fathers did not wish to have a state church established nor to have a particular religion favored by government. They wanted religion to be free to make its own way. But neither did they intend to have irreligion made into a favored state church. Notice the terrible irony if this trend were to continue. When the secular church goes after its heretics, where are the sanctuaries? To what landfalls and Plymouth Rocks can future pilgrims go? . .

It may well be, as our time comes to "suffer shame for his name" (Acts 5:41), that some of this special stress will grow out of that portion of discipleship which involves citizenship. Remember that, as Nephi and Jacob said, we must learn to endure "the crosses of the world" (2 Nephi 9:18) and yet to despise "the shame of [it]" (Jacob 1:8). To go on clinging to the iron rod in spite of the mockery and scorn that flow at us from the multitudes in that great and spacious building seen by Father Lehi, which is the "pride of the world," is to disregard the shame of the world (1 Nephi 8:26–27, 33; 11:35–36). Parenthetically, why–really why–do the disbelievers … watch so intently what the believers are doing? Surely there must be other things for the scorners to do–unless, deep within their seeming disinterest, there is interest.

If the challenge of the secular church becomes very real, let us, as in all other human relationships, be principled but pleasant. Let us be perceptive without being pompous. Let us have integrity and not write checks with our tongues which our conduct cannot cash.

Before the ultimate victory of the forces of righteousness, some skirmishes will be lost. Even these, however, must leave a record so that the choices before the people are clear and let others do as they will in the face of prophetic counsel. There will also be times, happily, when a minor defeat seems probable, that others will step forward, having been rallied to righteousness by what we do. We will know the joy, on occasion, of having awakened a slumbering majority of the decent people of all races and creeds–a majority which was, till then, unconscious of itself.

Jesus said that when the fig trees put forth their leaves "summer is nigh" (Matthew 24:32). Thus warned that summer is upon us, let us not then complain of the heat.

(Neal A. Maxwell, "Meeting the Challenges of Today," BYU Devotional, October 10, 1978)

~By Ryan

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Why I love nursing in the middle of the night:


(with the late afternoon sun, which is my favorite time in that room. It glows.)

( The frames in the corner of the room will eventually have silohuettes of her head, hands and feet in them, but we all know how much I like to make non-food items, so don't hold your breath.
Thanks to Pottery Barn for the inspiration/exact room idea, Christine for design ideas and drawing of sheep, Jessica A. for the curtains.)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Super Summary

Apparently, I have other children besides Faith. Did you know this? I kind of forgot. Here's what they've been doing:
1. Halloween
We did the usual...
admiring the Hunter's awesome decor (go here for last year's offering):


dinner in a pumpkin:

trick or treating:

and the unusual...
grandma came:

Ryan and Emma snuck away for an extra late night trick or treating:

and I went into labor:

2. School
Emma and Ryan have been working for HOURS on this geography game that's due tomorrow. I try not to realize that Ryan is just waaay nicer when it comes to helping the kids on projects than me but he was really rubbing my face in it this week, while he walked my super-smart-but-very-easily-distracted-and-poor-time-managing 4th grader through getting this thing done on time. Good game, better effort by Emma, best dad in the world:

Gabe got to go to see Peter Pan with his second grade class. I asked him if they sang "I won't grow up!" (we have it on a Broadway CD) and Gabe said yes and "I sang the whole thing along with them!" He talked about it all afternoon.
Jane can count to 100. And called Ryan up as soon as she got home from school and demonstrated. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, etc. Scintillating phone conversation.
And, I'm proud to announce, Seth now recognizes one letter of the alphabet. "That's S foh Sef, mom!"
3. Miscellaneous
Emma wanted me to put on the blog that this basketball team is now 4 wins, 0 losses: It's so much more fun to win.
For Family Home Evening last week, we played Settlers of Catan with our kids. And they are totally old enough to play. For real. Do you know how fun that is?? It feels like we've entered a new chapter in our lives! (See our Quick Quote for Gabe's take on the whole experience.)
The kids all got to go on the usual Dates with Grandma Dorrie while she was here. She lets them pick out a small toy and get a treat. Emma opted for a pedicure, while everyone else got various toys. Jane, demonstrating real restraint and gratitude, said (a few days after her date): " Hey Gwanma. I'm weady for my next date: I need an Easy Bake Oven."
4. Faith
She's just cute and perfect and we still REALLY like her (despite some bad nights this week).

We are trying to soak up every newborn minute, which involves me taking millions of pictures and some movies where she just sits there and opens her mouth and does those cute newborn grunts and involves Ryan falling asleep with her on the couch, because she won't settle down in her bassinet.

Please enjoy the following photo (with CUTE red shoes from Gabi), because admiring her, really, is our main occupation. Join us, won't you?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Quick Quote #29

Seth (3) - "Dad hewp me get my skelle-man"

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Follow your nose

Oh, Faith's been loved on around here. Don't worry about her being neglected as child #5.

A few days ago, I overheard this argument:
Jane: "I'm looking at her!"
Seth (right beside her, with a full view of baby): "NO! I want to look at her."
Jane: "No. I'm looking at her!"
I went over to explain to these two oh-so-rational human beings, that awesomely enough! they could BOTH see her at the same time. I reminded the two germ carriers/siblings, that because they had colds, they couldn't kiss her face.
"Why don't you guys just kiss her hand?"
Jane thought that was a great idea and proceeded to remind Seth LOTS of times that they were only kissing her hand.
I picked her up a few minutes later.
And smelled syrup all over those cute little cheeks and lips.
What? You didn't know that Faith LOVES waffles??

(Faith, with Jane and the syrup-breathing dragon)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Because you all seem so interested(?!) and because you don't think you will forget but you do:
  • I had my membranes stripped on Friday (Halloween) and the nurse-midwife said I wouldn't last the weekend. I started crying. Because I really really wanted to meet my little girl. And she was coming!

(last picture taken prior to giving birth. I am a beach ball.)

  • I "felt weird" and had contractions all day, but thankfully was able to do our usual Halloween things (post to come...).
  • Ryan was very concerned about getting to bed early because, as he told a friend of mine, he wanted to make sure he had enough energy for the labor ahead. She, obviously, made much fun of him.

  • I got 1 hour of sleep before I was woken up with semi-bad contractions 3-5 minutes apart. Obviously we rushed to the hospital where

  • my active labor abruptly stopped and they "let" me walk around the hospital for 3 hours before they would admit me. (Ryan got his much-needed rest on the couch in a room, while I stared longingly at his restful self.) I couldn't stop walking/showering/dancing (seriously) because I was NOT about to let them send me home.

  • They admitted me because it was my 5th and we live 30 minutes away from the hospital. It took 2 more hours of walking, an epidural, forced water breaking and 2 doses of pitocin to get me to a 10 cm dilation. That has NEVER happened before.

  • My blood pressure plunged after the epidural, which has never happened before. I was nervous about how I was feeling, but hate making a big medical deal about nothing, so began asking questions "Um, is it supposed to be hard to breathe?" "Um, should I be sweating profusely?" "Um, can my husband come over here and let me lean on him, because I feel really bad?" Finally they figured out what was going on and after a very nervous-sounding call from the nurse and a sprint from the nurse anethisissticisist (how do you say or pronounce that word, anyway?), we got my pressure up and I felt fine.

  • I only pushed 3-5 times. She was big and had hair and was really fiesty and screaming her head off while they checked her. See this picture of her grabbing the side of the scale?

  • I cried and cried and cried. It's such a spiritual experience, that moment when they leave Heaven and come to us.

  • I knew she was ours. I knew that long long ago, in the pre-existance, we became a family and Faith was part of that family. She was so familiar (and NOT just cause she looks like all the rest of them. Which she totally does.) and immediately, she was MINE. Like, if-they-don't-stop-weighing-her-and-checking-her-and-keeping-her-all-the-way-over-there-with-all-the-gadgets-I'm-jumping-off-of-this-bed MINE.
  • I love the hospital. They tried to tell me I could go home on Sunday and I said, "No thank you. I will stay till Monday" and they were all surprised (but willing) and I soaked up every minute of alone time with Faith, meals brought to my bed, reading and TV and those lovely hospital gowns that are perfect for new nursers and the copious amount of liquid involved in post-partumness.

  • Faith was very fussy and awake at the hospital. I was concerned about having another Emma (super colicky and hard) on my hands, but as soon as my milk came in (Monday night), she has turned into a dream.

  • HAVING A FIFTH CHILD IS SO GREAT! I am so much more relaxed about nursing, being up at night, fussiness, post-partum body (kind of), germs, pacifiers. The list goes on. AND I know so much more, so I know how to nurse, be up at night, deal with a fussy baby, dress for a post-partum body, fend off germ carriers and give a pacifier. I would totally recommend it.

  • In case you were wondering, every single solitary miserable minute of my pregnancy was worth this awesome experience, this sweet sweet sweet baby, this special spirit in my home, my expanded family. I am so glad I have this baby.

  • She is easy. Eats a lot, sleeps a lot, wakes up only 1-2 times a night, takes a pacifier, loves her dad. And she is very fun to dress. I want, like, 5 more of her. (That is another post all together).
Is anyone still reading, except for Faith, 10 years from now? If so, you should be rewarded with extra you go:

After her first bath, and not-very-successful tummy time

First day at church. Can you handle that dress and the tights?!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Leave taking

Is there anything sadder than when your mom leaves after staying for 8 very helpful days to help you with the baby (and, more importantly, all the other kids)?

She left yesterday and, when I got back in the van, after hugging her, Seth had the biggest pout and tears running down his cheeks. I joined him. Seth and I comforted ourselves by saying: "Gwah-ma will be back for Cwistmas."

Friday, November 7, 2008

Quick Quote #28

"These shoes are cool, Dad. If my feet are dirty when I put them on...they ALWAYS come out clean! Isn't that cool?!"

Gabe actually explained to me how if he only put the shoes on his dirty bare feet for a few seconds then they didn't work.

But if he put his dirty bare feet in them and wore them around for a while then when he took them off again, his feet were no longer black on the bottom.

Pretty neat huh?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

For Grandparents...

A few more pictures.

Right after.

First visit.

First photo shoot.

(all DARLING headwear courtesy of The Pretty Petal, fun Aunt Stacy's business.)

Coming home.

Big brother.

My kids always have super strong necks. Holding her head up at 2 days.

Caught one of those super fun sleeping smiles.

Details to come. (Can you wait??)

Saturday, November 1, 2008


We were surprised to have Faith arrive a bit early.
She weighed in at 8 lbs. 9 oz.
She was 20 in. long

I was surprised by how my spirit immediately recognized hers, and how overpowering the witness was that she came straight to us from God.
I thank Him and Jessica for our much anticipated addition.
She's perfect.