June 29, 2008

Never too late!

For all the parents out there that despair that their children aren't doing this or that developmentally, here's good news... it's never too late! Well.. ok.. maybe that's not altogether right. If your kid is still drinking formula when she is 15, then something might be a little bit off. But otherwise, it's all cool. So why this preface? Well, starting exactly four days ago, Armaan started crawling. He's made up for six months of time in these past few days. From taking a few hesitant steps, to now crawling clear across the room, the big li'l guy is doing well. Of course, there are always going to be child prodigies like Jaymin, who has walking since a few months before his first birthday - but we're never about comparing, are we?

It's pretty unreal that Armaan's first birthday is coming up. [Insert cliche here] Time really flies. We will be having a couple of back to back trips to Michigan. It's funny. Several years ago when we had to do a similar thing, all the talk was about the time spent in traveling, and planning for it. With the price of gas now, all the time is spent on planning for the costs of fuel. When you're driving a van that on its best days gives 18 miles to a gallon, those gallons tend to go pretty quickly.

In the meantime, the kids have been enjoying the pool. For all the work we thought it was, turns out maintenance is pretty easy.

The Vespas stopped by for a visit, including little Ben

I love this picture!!


A family visit to Millennium Park

June 18, 2008

Eight years!

Obama on life

There's an old question that's asked: Can Democrats be Christians? No one personifies this quandary better than Barack Obama. He has gone out of his way to proclaim his "Christian" faith (probably to counter the rumors that he's a closet Muslim). Anyway, I couldn't take it anymore. So in one of those bursts of indignation, I fired off this letter to his campaign:

Re.: Pro-choice stance

As way of introduction, I am a 34-year old engineer born in India, and in the US since '93. I am an evangelical Christian, and recently became a naturalized citizen. I have been living in the Chicago area all these years.

To me, the issue is very simple - Barack Obama would be the perfect candidate for me, but for his stance on the reproductive rights issue (the ABORTION issue). In reading through the issues page, I see that Sen Obama very clearly states that he is pro-choice and intends to stay that way. This stance does not dovetail into the other claim that Sen Obama makes - that of being a Christian. I find it pretty disingenuous that both these claims are made by the same person, without any attempt to reconcile the two. I have yet to hear an argument from any person who professes faith in the traditional form of Christianity to have a cogent reason to believe that abortion is also acceptable.

If Sen Obama does have such a reason, I would very much like to hear it. There is such a thing as personal faith, and public policy. I do not believe the US Constitution drives my faith life, regardless of how many times I say the Pledge. But in public life, I do have to follow current laws. So why can't Sen Obama say that while he personally believes that life is sacred, he will uphold current laws that protect choice? Unless Sen Obama doesn't believe in the sanctity of life, and has a disconnect with that part of his Christian faith.

I have been wrestling with this issue ever since Sen Obama announced his candidacy, and felt I had to express it, regardless on who reads it. Thanks for reading.


Bipin Sen

I wasn't really expecting any responses, but in this time of micro-audiences, I guess there have been enough letters like this for the campaign to have a drafted form letter. Today I got this from the campaign:

Dear Friend,

Thank you for contacting Senator Obama to advise him of your opposition to abortion. We appreciate your strong feelings on this difficult matter.

Senator Obama believes that every abortion is a personal tragedy, and he has struggled deeply with this issue. He believes that government must do better at encouraging alternatives to abortion. And he supports proposals to decrease the costs of adoption and make the process easier. He cosponsored the Prevention First Act with pro-life Senator Harry Reid, a bill which seeks to expand access to preventive health care services that help reduce unintended pregnancies, reduce the number of abortions, and improve access to women's health care. Education and counseling services are also important and should be expanded.

In the final analysis, however, Senator Obama believes that only a woman, her family, her doctor and her conscience should make the deeply personal decision of whether or not to end a pregnancy. For women who choose it, he will work hard to keep abortion safe, legal and rare—in line with the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade.

This is a controversial issue, and we appreciate your deeply held beliefs. Thank you again for contacting us.


Obama for America

You can read the self-contradiction even in their response. My original question still stands. What is Obama basing his pro-choice position on? Personal preference? It's certainly not grounded in scripture or Christian tradition - if it is, then that's exactly what I want to hear. And if Obama, while claiming to be a person of faith can make an arbitrary choice on this, what next will he make an arbitrary choice on? There is no integrity of belief here. Suppose Obama said that he is waiting for aliens to return, and that as President he will triple NASA's funding. Well, I can see a connection there, however disturbing. I see no connection between a profession of Christian faith, and not valuing the sanctity of life. If there is a disconnect between Obama and his faith in this matter, what else is there a disconnect on?

June 07, 2008

Moving up

It should be apparent by now that our kids love water. So when Priya was about a year old, we had our first iteration of putting a pool in the back. Below is a pretty decent size pool from Target for I think about thirty bucks or so. Ohh.. as you can see, this pool also involved my purchasing an air compressor.

This pool lasted for maybe all of 3 or 4 weeks. Since we were pool neophytes and had no idea on how to chemically treat water to make sure it stays fresh (plus no pump in this big kiddie pool).

So next year, pool iteration number two. Well... not much maintenance required in this one. Use as needed.

Suffering terrible vacation withdrawals from being in Grand Cayman, behold pool number 3! Took me about a couple of hours to put together. This baby comes with a nice pump that has to run about five hours every day to circulate the 4,000 gallons of water in there. Which also means that you can't screw up the water chemistry. Refilling this will not be cheap. In the last couple of weeks we've also had to learn how to test and treat the water. So far so good.

Armaan eating "helicopter" seeds as I put the pool together

The stare-back

A month behind... he's 11 months now - those to come shortly

Seriously.. this kid is going to swim before he walks

Caleb and David are moving away for a year - this was their last playdate with our kids

Hey quit inching closer to my daughter! :-)

Armaan loves to feed himself, something Priya never did