Sunday, August 31, 2008

Made Our Day

Our 15 months old son said, "I love you" last night to me and my husband. Although it sounded more like "I wuv ooh." Anyway, you slice it, it was awesome. Plus he said it close to a dozen times and has continued saying it today. (You always fear the first time they say something it is just a fluke). It certainly made our day.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Grandma's Feather Bed

When I was a kid my dad used to sing and play the guitar for my siblings and me quite a bit. While he played a variety of songs I can remember most vividly "Puff the Magic Dragon" by Peter, Paul, and Mary, "Grandma’s Feather Bed" by John Denver, and a variety of James Taylor songs. I guess it is only appropriate that our children listen to many of these same songs. Yesterday we were at Barnes and Noble looking at books and I found one called Grandma’s Feather Bed
that is based on the John Denver song. I bought it without "testing" it out (meaning reading it to my daughter to see if it gets the yeah or nay vote) primarily because it is a song that I love so much and think is fun. My kids are so into music that I figured they’d be receptive to just about anything.

When we got home I started reading (singing actually) it to my kids. I think I sang the song close to 50 times in the span of a few hours. They asked for it over and over again. (The pictures in the book are pretty hillbilly funny too) The kids love it and my daughter has already started memorizing some of the words. It feels like things have come full
circle when she is rocking out to the same tunes I did when I was her age.

My next goal is to learn to play it on the guitar (I’ve already mastered Puff, the Magic Dragon and a few James Taylor songs, among a variety of others). It’s funny how songs I haven’t thought of or heard in decades are suddenly such a prominent part of my life and the lives of our children. My husband and I love music: all types. We listen to things ranging from the popular to the obscure, from oldies to up and coming, virtually anything. I’m glad that our children, our daughter especially at this point, have adopted that same receptiveness and curiosity and interest in a variety of types of music. They don’t care what it is, just that they can groove and dance to it. (Yesterday my daughter asked me to put in Johnny Cash. Hard to believe considering Cash was my maternal grandfather’s favorite artist and now his great-granddaughter asks for his CD’s by name). So, on that note I better start figuring out how to play this song so I’m prepared for the day we decide to have a family ho-down.

Friday, August 29, 2008

My Reflections on Obama and McCain

Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows that I am not a true fan of either candidate currently running for president. I’m also not registered as a Democrat or Republican as my political beliefs don’t fit neatly into either category. I pretty much sit firmly in the middle and vote the issues, not party alignment. For me, this particular election comes down to which candidate could I tolerate for four years. Lately that candidate seems to be Obama.

Sure, he is inexperienced and he doesn’t have the "record" that McCain has. However, I feel, just based on my own personal observations that Obama is more open minded and would be more receptive to the input and ideas of others. I don’t get that impression from McCain. He seems like a "My way or the highway" type of guy. That type of attitude serves no one in present day politics, especially after suffering through that arrogant attitude for eight years with Dubya.

I have watched much of the DNC this past week as I will watch much of the RNC next week. I listened to Obama’s speech and was thoroughly impressed with him, as I was four years ago when he spoke at the DNC as an unknown Senator. He is a gifted orator and I believe a truly sincere and nice guy. However, I do worry about Obama. He does not seem to be one to offer specifics on policies. His answers are vague and often unclear. He seems to speak in broad generalizations. He certainly speaks to the hearts of people. There is no doubt he can stir the emotions of even the biggest naysayers, but is he really saying anything of substance? The verdict is still out for me.

I think that even though he is inexperienced he would probably surround himself with a staff that would be knowledgeable and experienced to compensate for any weakness he may lack. I think he would listen to opposing views and seriously consider them, whether those views come from Democrats, Republicans, or any other political party. I think he stands the greatest chance of unifying the polarized parties of our country. I also think he would be an asset in diplomatic dealings.

Conversely, I have a bad feeling about McCain. I don’t like a lot of his politics for starters. I also don’t get the impression that he is one to heed the advice of others too often, especially if that advice is different from what he thinks or feels is best. He seems to be quick-tempered and rather unpredictable. I reiterate that this is just my personal feeling and not based on anything more.

Last week at the DNC Jimmy Carter said that if Obama were elected President it would mark the end of racism in our country. I am by no means naïve enough to think for one minute that that is anywhere close to the truth. Nor do I think that if McCain and Sarah Palin were elected it would mark the end of sexism or ageism. We have come a long way, though, that is for certain. It is pretty cool when you stop to think that either way history will be made. We will either have a black President or a female Vice President.

The cynical side of me thinks that is why McCain chose Palin. I am sure that she is probably qualified to be Vice President, but is also greatly helps McCain’s image that he is "progressive" enough to buck traditional DC and pick a young, inexperienced, woman for the second highest job in the land. I think he is trying to send the message that he too is capable of being a catalyst for change; that he went against he stereotypical GOP VP nominee and chose Palin. I just have such a hard time believing that she serves any greater purpose than being McCain’s token. His choice also seems to undermine his criticism of Obama’s inexperience. That point now seems fairly moot and void of any substance since both campaigns now have an experienced DC insider paired with an inexperienced DC outsider. I guess over time we will see how this plays out and if I am just being too cynical.

On a personal note, about five years ago my brother, who is now a lawyer, did an internship for Senator McCain in Arizona. He was rarely at the location my brother worked out of, but when he did make an appearance one of his aides suggested that he go over and meet his interns and thank them. Well within earshot (and view) of the interns he told the aid that he didn’t have time to meet them. In the same amount of time that he stood there telling his aid that he was too important to rub elbows with the hired help ("hired’ being used very liberally here as it was an unpaid internship), he could have gone over and met the interns. That is seemingly something minor but it rubs me the wrong way that he couldn’t take five minutes to meet the young men and women who were working tirelessly for him. I wonder how much that says about how he treats others around him or those that work for him and how he would in turn treat the people of America if he were elected.

So, what are your thoughts? Was Palin a good choice? Was she chosen merely because she is a woman? What did you think of Obama’s speech?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Nighttime Sentiments

I was putting my daughter to bed tonight and below is the conversation that ensued.

Me: I love you so much and am so proud of you. You did such a terrific job at dance class today.

Daughter: Thanks. I love you too. I'm tired from all that dancing.

Me: You must be. You were a dancin' fool.

(silence for a few minutes)

Daughter: I love you mommy and am so proud of you.

Me: That's so sweet. Why are you proud of me?

Daughter: You are such a good mommy and such a sweet mommy.

Me: Oh, you are such a sweetheart and I love you so much.

It is conversations like these that assure me our daughter is being raised right.

Random Statements from a 3 Year Old

* My 15 -month-old son loves to run around naked. He will undress himself the minute we come in the house. My daughter has started yelling, "Run wild and free little man, wild and free."

* My daughter walked into her bedroom and took a look around. She saw her dolls all over the floor, puzzles everywhere, and all of her play food littering her bed. She exclaims, "Holy toledo my room is a complete disaster."

* She and my husband were picking up her room when she stops, points to another area that needs cleaning and says, "That area needs a little attention too."

* My son is the source of my daughter's frustrations at times. When it becomes overwhelming for her she says, "Mom, he's just being terrible. He's a terrible little guy."

* Daughter says, "What are we going to do with my brother? Should we sell him to the zoo? No, we're gonna kiss him and hug him and love him."

Recap of The Day

Today was a good day. We have seemed to have a lot of them lately, which I am certainly thankful for, but almost have a feeling it is merely the calm before the storm (as any mother with young children, or any aged children, can attest).

We managed to salvage all of our food from our fridge/freezer breakdown. My husband called our appliance repair man at 8 am and he was at our home by 8:30. Fortunately, it was something that could be fixed and only ended up costing us $120. (We were bracing ourselves for the possibility of having to buy an entirely new unit) Disaster averted.

We spent the later part of the morning and the early part of the afternoon visiting with my grandmother. My sister and her four children also came by so the kids had a great time playing with their cousins. My daughter has really blossomed socially lately and seems to really enjoy being around her cousins and all of her new dance friends.

Since it's Thursday my daughter had dance class this evening. My husband was able to get off work a bit early to come watch. The teacher was kind enough to let him sit in on the class since he has not been able to come to one yet. Our daughter was surprised and very glad to show off her moves.

We capped off the evening by going to dinner with my mom and my sister and her children after dance class. I feel like we've been busy and on the go all day, but it was a fun day and the kids were great and my husband is off tomorrow which makes this evening more relaxing. Now, just looking forward to listening to Obama's speech.

How was your day?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fridge on the Fritz

Well, I was making fruit and yogurt popsicles for the kids this afternoon. It usually takes about 4 hours to harden so after dinner I went to get them out. They were still liquid. I started looking around in the freezer and almost everything had defrosted. Then I checked out the fridge and it too was not very cool. I noticed it too late to call anyone about it, so we made room in the outside freezer for some of the salvagable frozen food from inside and bought dry ice to try to regulate the temperature in the fridge to get us through until tomorrow.

So, who knows what is wrong with it. We don't have great luck with appliances. It is usually something major and expensive that needs to be done. We go all out when we break appliances. Nothing half-assed here. I'm guessing we'll be buying a new fridge/freezer in the next few days. (Although, I'm keeping my fingers crossed it is something that can easily be fixed) The worst part about this is I just spent $350 in groceries yesterday. I'm hoping to not have to pitch them.

Great Post

I started reading this blog a few weeks ago and there have been a few posts that have really "spoken" to me at times that couldn't be more appropriate. Kudos to Mark for what I thought was an insightful piece.

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Our one year old son has about a 20-25 word vocabulary right now, which I guess is pretty good (at least according to our doctor), but our daughter by this age could say somewhere between 50-100 words. (Yes, I know she is a first born and a girl). It's hard sometimes to not make comparisons or worry, though.

He gets away with not having to say much because he points and grunts and first born daughter gets what he wants. Lately, I've been asking her to not do that so that he'll have to ask for something. So, yesterday they were playing and he starts his pointing and grunting and I watch to see what my daughter is going to do. She turns around and says, "Little man, you are going to have to learn to start talking. Tell me what you want." He shakes his head back and forth, says, "No!" and runs away.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Our fifteen month old son has started throwing tantrums when he feels he has been slighted, usually by his sister. The boy has some lungs and determination. Oftentimes it matters little what I do, I just have to wait for the tantrum to run its course. Lately, though, our 3 year old daughter has started telling him, very sternly, "Stop that right now. That's ridiculous." The funny thing is that more often than not, he stops dead in his tracks.

Wedding Rings and Other Things

So my wedding ring was supposed to be repaired and done last Sunday afternoon. I got a call in the morning from the jeweler telling me there is more wrong with it than they initially thought (cracks throughout the mounting). Apparently the compromise with platinum is that it is a softer metal therefore can bend and crack more easily than gold. I was pretty bummed because I will now be without my ring for at least three weeks. The good news is all the work is being done at no cost to me since we have the service plan. It is also a bit disconcerting that such an expensive wedding set appears to be so fragile. Although this is the only problem I’ve had with it in 6 years so I guess that is not all that surprising.

So, my husband, out of the blue, suggested I get a "sturdier" wedding ring for everyday use and wear and tear and use my original ring for occasions like church on Sunday, family gatherings, and other functions that don’t have me banging my ring around or nicking it on things. All I heard was another wedding ring and I was sold. I mean what girl needs convincing to have two diamond rings? We looked around a bit yesterday and found one we both really liked. The diamond needs to be mounted and the ring needs to be sized, but if all goes as planned I should have it in a few days. My husband said he was having "a surprise" added as well. I love my original wedding ring, but it is certainly exciting to have something new to alternate with. I’m just hoping I don’t do as much damage to this one as I have seemed to manage to do to my original.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Democratic National Convention

Ted Kennedy looked and sounded good at the DNC. Is it wrong that I want Howard Dean to bust out with his rebel yell?

Random Observation

There is nothing sweeter than watching my children hug and kiss one another or walk hand in hand. Simply adorable!

Tranquil and Serene

Right now things in our life are gong so well and running so smoothly that I’m afraid by verbalizing it and putting it in writing I will jinx it and everything will fall apart. It’s almost like when things are this great you can sense disaster around the corner.

However, it seems like the past few months things have really fallen into place. There has been little stress and just an overall ease of life. My husband has been doing really well and just secured a corporate client who buys a lot of cars every year (and picked last month to get started). The kids are both at such fun ages that things seem to have suddenly gotten easier. We still have our trying days, don’t get me wrong, but they are fewer and farther between. And for whatever reason I am at such a peaceful and blissful stage in life. I don’t know if it is a feeling that comes with age and security or as a result of positive changes I have made in my life: personally, physically, and mentally.

I am under no illusion that this will last permanently but I am thankful for all we have been blessed with and for the peaceful waters we are currently floating on.

Day Trip To the Mountains

Two women from church whom I’ve recently become friends with were taking their children to the mountains for the day (we live about an hour or so away) and invited me and my two little ones to come along. We spent the afternoon just relaxing and enjoying one another’s company. We had lunch when we got to the top, and then spent the next 3 hours tooling around. The kids played in a few streams, hiked some trails, climbed on some huge rocks, and ate some delicious fudge from a great local shop. It was nice to be outside in cooler weather than our normal heat-stroke inducting temperatures.

As I watched my kids play and laugh it occurred to me how wonderful things have been lately and I want to hold onto that and cherish it. (See upcoming post) We packed up before it got dark and headed back to town in time to grab a quick dinner. While it was really relaxing I am now exhausted and just want to crawl into bed.


My husband, both kids, and I were all in bed and asleep by 8:30 pm last night. That never happens. It was nice!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Grandma Turns 80

This week my grandma will celebrate her 80th birthday. Hard to believe. My parents told her they were taking her out to brunch today at a fancy country club here in town, but didn't tell her that her other son, 3 of her 4 grandchildren (the 4th is a lawyer on the other side of the country and couldn't get away) and their spouses, great-grandchildren, and her friends were invited too. When she got there and saw everyone else she was very pleasantly surprised.

The brunch was incredible. I've never seen so much delicious food in one place and the dessert table was nirvana (chocolate fountain included). I stuffed myself on shrimp, salmon, crab legs, fresh fruit, a variety of salads, and of course dessert. For more hearty eaters there was roast beef, chicken dishes, beef dishes, an omelet bar, french toast, waffles, bacon, sausage, eggs benedict, and the list goes on. Like I said, it was incredible. I could write an entire post on the pleasant dining experience, alone.

You could tell my grandma was very touched to have everyone there and had a great time showing off her 6 great-grandchildren to her friends. Our two kids had a blast and made sure to give "old" grandma lots of love and attention. My son even decided to give all her friends hugs and kisses too on the way out.

All in all, it was a good day and a nice celebration of my grandma's time on this earth.

I Hate Jon and Kate Plus Eight

A few months ago someone recommended the show Jon and Kate Plus Eight. So, I started checking it out. It didn't take long for me to decide that I found the entire premise despicable. Here you have two people who convinced a doctor to start fertility treatments when they were in their early 20's and had not been trying to get pregnant for at least a year. I have had many friends with fertility issues, ranging in severity, and not one of them has done anything before they were unsuccessful for 12 months. They also waited until one was over 25 (the others were already over 25).

My complaint is that Jon and Kate treat each other horribly. I would never treat my husband that way and expect to remain married. It's disturbing that so many find their poor treatment of each other to be entertaining. I've heard so many say, "Kate is so mean to him. It's hillarious." Really? I also find them both to be money-grubbing whores who exploit their children. There, I said it. That is what this is really about. I would never put my children on TV to earn my paycheck. Having cameras in your house all day long, every week obviously changes the dynamics of what is "real" in your house. These are children for God's sake.

I started working on a post for this a month or so ago and kept getting so angry as I was writing that it came off sounding like the crazy rantings of a mad woman. As I was researching information on Jon and Kate I came across an article that could not have said it better. I've attached the link below. She has hit the nail on the head. (You will need to scroll up to the top for the article).

Baby Zuma

I'm all for baby names that are a little different and unique. Our kids have names that you won't find on the top 100. They aren't weird names that will get them ridiculed when they are in school but there also won't be ten other kids with their names. I'm going to venture to say that there might not even be one other kid with their name.

That being said, what is up with celebrities and their baby names? It seems like if you are part of Hollywood these days you are obligated to give your baby the craziest name you can think of. Case in point? Zuma Nesta Rock Rossdale, the newest member of the Gavin Rossdale/Gwen Stefani family. Are you kidding me? It sounds like some celestial formation or ancient Indian tribe. That poor kid is going to have to carry this name for life and there will be no shortage of jokes when he gets to school.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Weekly Recap

My husband had a huge sales event this past week which meant he worked everyday from 8 am until 10 pm or 11 pm Monday through Saturday. What that means for our family is that our children maybe see him for a few minutes in the morning before he dashes off and they are fast asleep by the time he gets home.

This is the third year I have lived through this event and to be honest I was expecting a horrible week. I was expecting grouchy kids compounded by a tired and overworked mommy. The week turned out to be quite pleasant instead. Our daughter was fantastic. She was well-behaved all week, great with her brother, and a huge help to me. She was patient even though her brother required a bit more attention than usual, which meant a bit less for her somedays. Our son, while super clingy and a bit whiny, did pretty well overall. I think he missed his daddy and the change of routine threw him off a little.

We had a great time running errands, reading books, visiting museums, a few extra trips to see grandparents, and just "lazy days" at home. While it was exhausting for me it really could not have gone better under the circumstances. It was nice to have all that time with the kids....not that I don't have all that time anyway, but it felt different this week.

It will be great to have my husband home tomorrow before he begins another gruelling week (hopefully with less hours though). I'll be thankful to have him around and I know the kids will be excited to have his attention since they've had so little of it these past six days.

All in all, things were good. Husband was very successful over the week, the kids were fun and well-behaved, and I survived another year of these crazy sales weeks.

Joe Biden is Obama's Veep Pick

I just read that Obama has chosen Joe Biden, a senator from Delaware to be his running mate in this election. That really should not come as a surprise to anyone following this election. Personally, I think he is a good choice and like that Biden is a "tell it like it is" type of guy.

Beyond what he has done over the course of his political career I admire him more because of what he has overcome in his personal life. When he was elected to the Senate his wife and infant daughter were killed in a car accident. His two young sons were injured badly. He was actually sworn in from their bedsides. He then commuted everyday to DC and back so that he could care for his two sons, a habit he continues to this day.

He has obviously since remarried and had a daughter with this wife. I think it shows a great amount of courage for him to continue on after something so tragic. He had only been married 6 years at the time he lost his wife. They were young. I think about my husband and if I were to lose him or one of our children. He and I are about to celebrate 6 years of marriage in October. It would be utterly devestating to suffer such a loss. I have such an enormous amount of respect for Senator Biden because of how he conducted himself in the face of such tragedy. I respect him because he made his two motherless sons a priority.

I don't know as much as I should about him politically, but I know as a parent and a wife I admire him and respect him for the type of husband and father he is. A lot of times, even in politics, that really should count for more than it does.


I suffer from horrible migraines that have been virtually untreated for four years now because when pregnant or breastfeeding you cannot take any of the triptan medication usually prescribed. So, basically I have just had to suck it up and suffer quietly. I have tried physical therapy, accupuncture, caffeine, ib profen, tylenol with codeine, vicodin, percocet, etc. but nothing has worked.

A friend who also suffers from migraines told me that she started seeing a chiropractor for her migraines and so far it is working. So, the plan is to find out if my insurance will cover it and start going if so. I'm desperate. I'm willing to try anything in the hopes of getting some relief (as long as it is legal).

Anyone have any suggestions?

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Pettiness of Children

It is surprising to me the amount of people in this world who find it perfectly acceptable to behave like children. It would seem at some point they would become embarassed by their behavior (This is a broad generalization that covers a vast amount of possible situations). People gossip, back-bite, betray, "talk shit", and ignore others at their discretion and often times with little reason.

However, when they then want something they go to great lengths to make sure others respond promptly and don't relent until they get some type of response. It's mind-baffling really. I just don't understand how people can expect so much yet offer so little in return. Why are their needs, wants, and desires of greater priority than anyone else's? I don't know how their self-righteous indignation overtakes all common sense of courtesy and decency.

What are your thoughts?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

An Apology

So, I'm really ADD and cannot find a blog template that I am completely happy with yet. I apologize if my indecisiveness is driving you crazy. Please bear with me as I continue to fiddle around with this. Feel free to leave comments about your likes, dislikes, or general indifference.

My Ballerina Princess

Our daughter had her second ballet class today. After her limited participation last class I wasn't quite sure what to expect. However, today as I peeked my head in, she was dancing and participating entirely. I guess she just needed one class to take it all in.

I stood in the doorway watching her in her adorable leotard and tights, with her hair pulled back into a pony tail, listening to her teacher and following all the directions and I just thought, "How heartwarmingly cute." She was having so much fun and looked like such a little girl and not a baby any longer. She's only three, but somehow watching her in that class she looks and acts so much older.

After class she sang all the songs to me that they danced to in class and when we got home I got a complete reinactment of every dance and activity they did. My husband got the same reinactment when he got home. (She was beyond excited as she has not seem him in 3 days).

The good news is that she seems to really enjoy the class and has made new friends. She's come out of her shell as well, which is a neat transformation to watch. She told me today that her teacher didn't think a rag that was brought it was my daughter's. (My daughter has horrible allergies and instead of rubbing her nose raw with Kleenex, she uses her brother's old soft burp cloths as "snot rags".) I guess the teacher tried to give it to another little girl at the end of class. Apparently, my three year old went up and said, "Excuse me, Miss K but that is my rag." The teacher said, "Oh, sweetie I don't think so. I think it's so and so's" My daughter insisted and then once she got the rag back said, "Thank you very much." Just to hear her recount this story makes me laugh.

In any event, today's class was a success and my daughter is having a great time. I don't know if ballet will be something she'll stick with or outgrow and right now it doesn't really matter. I'm just glad that she is enjoying herself and making friends. She did tell me today that when she is four she wants to do karate....the way she pronounces karate, with a rolled r, is hysterical enough for me to ask her ten times a day what she wants to do when she is four. The fact that she kicks her foot and does a chop with her hands while saying "karate" with her rolled r makes me ask at least another five times.

Half-Assed Repairs

I took my wedding ring to the jeweler earlier this week because one of the prongs holding my center diamond had chipped resulting in the ring getting caught on clothing and my poor children's skin. I picked it up last night not really taking the time to examine it closely. When I got it home something about the ring just didn't look or feel right.

This morning it still didn't look right and I finally figured out that they had not aligned the wedding band evenly with the engagement ring when they saudered them back together, thus creating a gap between the two that was uncomfortable and unsightly. Furthermore, the center diamond on the wedding band was now placed crooked. That part was not even supposed to be touched. Finally, I noticed that the ring felt really big so I thought they might have sized it incorrectly.

Long story short I had to take the ring back to the jeweler today. They saw what I saw and agreed to fix it. They measured my ring though and it was the same size 7 it has always been yet the ring was spinning around my finger and falling off. She asked if I had recently lost weight, to which for the first time in a long time I could answer, "Yes, actually I have." So, they resized my ring finger and it is now a 6 1/4.

So, while I was and still am frustrated by the half-assed job they did with the repair and rather angry that I had to go out of my way to drop it off again, not to mention will have to go out of my way again to pick it up, it was exciting to learn that I've lost so much weight that even my fingers have gotten skinnier.

The Value of Parents

My daughter looks at most things in terms of a mother-child relationship. For example, if there are two boats in a book and one is big and the other small she will refer to them as the "mama boat" and the "baby boat". Or the other day she was playing with two tree figurines at her great grandma’s house and called one the "mama tree" and one the "baby tree." She has done this for a while and usually looks to establish a relationship this way.

In so doing, it has made me realize (not that I didn’t already, but certainly reinforced) what an important role a parent has. Children look for that structure and stability. Anyone who thinks a parent is immaterial or losing a parent or not having parents is insignificant has obviously not spent any time around children. You can see it in almost everything they do. They make sense of everything by establishing a parent-child dynamic.

Their parents, mothers specifically, are the centers of their world. They see themselves the way their mothers see them. They view the world the way their mothers view it. They treat others the way their mothers treat others. This is especially obvious with younger siblings. My daughter will hug and kiss and console her baby brother using the same mannerisms and words I use to comfort them both.

A parent is the most steadying and influential force in the life of a child. This is often times underrated and under appreciated. Just imagine the impact we have on our children and imagine those children who don’t have that influence in their lives. They are lost at sea. When I think about how my children view me, with such reverence and importance, the duty to raise and protect them almost become overwhelming. I want to make sure I’m setting the right example, treating them and others the right way. Judging by the way my children act and treat others I’d say so far my husband and I are doing a pretty good job.

When watching my children and the way they rely on me and seek my guidance and approval I become so much more aware of what other children are missing in this world and it is heartbreaking. I think about children going to bed at night, wondering if they are loved or children playing alone during the day wishing their parents would make time to play with them. I know I make mistakes with my children, but I also know that my children are loved. They know without a doubt that they are loved. They also get a ton of quality time from me, both together and individually. I wish every child had that. I wish every child went to bed at night feeling secure and loved. Maybe one day....

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Mother's Loss

Came across this article today. I thought it was a bit sad.

RIP LeRoi Moore

I am a huge Dave Matthews Band fan. I don't think they have ever put out a bad CD and live they are beyond anything I can put into words. So I was really sad to hear that the saxophonist, LeRoi Moore, died yesterday due to complications from an ATV accident he was involved in a couple of months back.

He will certainly be missed!

Corporal Punishment In The Schools

We don't spank our children. There are a variety of reasons why we have made that decision but it comes down to the fact that we feel there are more humane and effective forms of discipline and that while spanking may stop the undesired behavior at that time it does little to nothing to teach correct behavior over the long term.

So when I read this article today I was shocked and appalled. I would venture to say that most parents, even ones who spank their children, wouldn't want others to physically punish their children.

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Footballs and Pom Poms

In all truth I don’t really care what my children participate in when they get older as long as they participate in something. It could be sports, dance, music, arts, theatre, etc. All I desire is that they are a part of something greater than themselves and feel passionately about it.

That being said I have feelings of strong opposition to football and cheerleading. Now, I admit that when I was in high school and even in college I belonged to the "athlete’s" crowd or the jocks. We did not think very highly of the cheerleaders and much of that was brought on by the fact that we didn’t consider them to be "real" athletes that participated in a "real" sport. They also had a tendency to be morally challenged, if ya know what I mean. (I’m not making a statement about all cheerleaders before all you former cheerleaders start an uproar. I am speaking specifically of the girls on the squad at my school) They fit many of the stereotypes of airheads.

I realize cheerleading has evolved over the years and has become hardcore in many circles. It is no longer just a bunch of floozies bouncing around yelling cute little rhymes. They train and condition similar to many athletes in actual sports. Despite the evolution of cheerleading I still oppose my child’s participation in either that or football, especially when they are still in fact children. Ironically, it is for none of the reasons I have mentioned above. (That was just a neat little side story)

It is for one reason only: safety. Football and cheerleading have the highest incident of injury (and I’m talking catastrophic injuries) and death. No other sport even comes close. Part of the issue with cheerleading specifically is that the stunts are becoming more risky and more dangerous and many of the coaches aren’t really qualified to be teaching or supervising these types of routines. As long as this continues we will continue to see the incident of injuries and fatalities rise.

I cringe when I see little girls (5 to 13 years of age) participating in such a dangerous activity and parents downplaying the risks that they are exposing their children to. This week the results of a study were released to support my stance. This should not come as a surprise to anyone. I’ve attached the link to the article below.

I do realize that there are inherent risks with any sport and my child could get injured at any point. I hurt myself many times over the years playing basketball. Some serious and some relatively minor. Fortunately, I suffered nothing catastrophic or career ending or fatal. However, I also know those risks greatly increase with participation in football and cheerleading. The injury reports and data collected over the years support that. I realize that there are thousands who participate each year on football teams and cheerleading squads and go their lifetime without an injury, but I am just not willing to risk it when it comes to my child. I just don’t think it is worth it.

What activities/sports would you not want your child to participate in? What are the reasons behind that decision? If you do have children that participate in football and cheerleading do you worry about the risk of serious injury?

Guest Post

It was my honor to guest post over at today. So, please head on over to check it out and thanks to Jodi for the wonderful opportunity!

Monday, August 18, 2008

My Weight Loss Journey

I was fat. Yes, I admit it. As much as it hurts and as much as I tried to deny it, the rolls just don’t lie. But today marks an important milestone in my weight loss journey. Today I hit the 30-pounds lost mark. Additionally I have dropped 3 full sizes! While I am not at my ideal weight (probably another 20 pounds to go) I have lost enough to lose the status of straight up fat girl. I have done this in 4 months, losing an average of 1.87 pounds a week. Getting started was the hardest part. Once I got into a routine it became a great outlet with immediate health benefits.

I wasn’t always fat. There were "chubby periods" of my life, but I was a college basketball player and always in pretty good shape. I started playing basketball as soon as I could walk and by the time I hit 4th grade I played year round. I played on travelling teams, local teams, National All-Star teams, and Junior Olympic teams. This was during the off-season. Obviously, during season I played for my school teams. By the time I finished college I had been training and playing year round for a minimum of thirteen years. I wanted a break. So, I did nothing. I quit lifting weights, I quit doing anything for my cardiovascular health, and I quit playing basketball. I coached a Varsity High School basketball team my first two years out of college so I played once in a while with them, but nothing close to the level I was used to. Slowly my weight crept up.

Then I started having children. I lost the weight really quickly after my first child, but after I had my second I didn’t lose the weight. It just got redistributed. I had started many diets before and failed; I had also started working out many times before but would quit after a few weeks. I just couldn’t find the motivation.

Finally I figured out the key. You have to be really sick of being fat. If you are okay with it or refuse to acknowledge how fat you are you will never be motivated enough to lose it. I just got sick of having to buy bigger sizes of clothing, having things not fit right, and just carrying around extra weight was exhausting, not to mention hard on my back and knees. So, I started going to the gym everyday for the first month. I spent an hour there each time. I’d spend 30 minutes doing something cardio and then 30 minutes lifting weights. As I started losing weight I tapered down to 5-6 times a week. I alternated the type of cardio I did because after a while your body starts to acclimate and it quits working as hard, thus burning fewer calories. If I stopped losing weight for a week or two I knew I had to change up the routine to jump-start my metabolism again.

In addition, I also had to change the way I ate. I didn’t do anything revolutionary. I did get rid of candy and chips and any other processed food with sugar and starches. But basically I just ate less. I didn’t deprive myself, but I did have to sacrifice cravings. I am not dieting. I hate the word "diet" because they never work. It has to be a lifestyle change. You have to learn to eat differently and not feel like you are missing out on something.

I share all of this, not to brag, but to encourage. Anyone can do this. It is just small little changes that can add up to a lot of pounds over a relatively short amount of time. I have certainly worked hard and am proud of myself for all the work I have done day in and day out but I haven’t starved myself or deprived myself and as a result I will have an easier time keeping this weight off. I’ve conditioned myself to eat differently. I no longer even crave the "goodies" I used to eat on a daily basis. I don’t even think about what I’m missing. Going to the gym is routine now, something I just get up and do without ever really considering otherwise. I’m just glad to be in this new body where clothes fit better, I’m comfortable and I have so much more energy to play with my kids.

The Truth About Car Sales

My husband was a History teacher for 6 years before leaving education and going into car sales. He made the switch when our daughter was a year old when it became clear a teaching salary was just not going to cut it. Since we both decided it would be in the best interest of our daughter and subsequent children if I stayed home, we lost an income. It was a major sacrifice. The thing about education is that there is no money, especially not enough for a sole provider to support a family on. The nice part though was he was home by 4 or 4:30 most days.

He is currently in sales and it has been a sacrifice. The hours are unpredictable and long, the demands placed on him are ever increasing, and there seems to be very little time remaining for him to spend at home. The flip side of that is that he has been very successful and aside from the long hours, really enjoys it. I think that surprised him initially.

Admittedly, I had a really rough time the first year because I was alone a lot, had a one-year-old and was pregnant with our son. I felt like a single mom and still do a lot of times. I have gotten used to the fact that he sometimes works 16 hour days or that sometimes he won’t get home until close to midnight as he is finishing up a sale, even though the dealership is supposed to close at 8 (they’ll stay open as long as someone’s buying). It is a decision we as a family made and we all have made sacrifices to make this work. I run errands alone with the kids, shop with the kids, and attend family and other functions without a husband present. It’s hard to make plans because while my husband may be scheduled to only work until 4 PM on a certain day at the last minute something always comes up and he ends up getting out hours later. So, nothing is every really set in stone. For me that is the hardest part. I am very Type A and I plan out everything. This job has made that virtually impossible to do. The good news though is that our financial situation has changed for the better as a result of this job. Just having that constant stress eliminated makes a huge difference.

People have this pre-conceived, stereotypical view of car sales men as greasy, slime balls who are just out to screw you. While they certainly exist most are hardworking, honest people who are just trying to support their families. Most are trying to get you the best deal possible while still making enough money to feed and clothe their families. No one, unless you are in car sales or your spouse is (yes, there are female car saleswomen too), truly understands the type of commitment and sacrifice involved.

Many jobs require long hours and personal sacrifices, but a vast majority of those jobs also have built in respect and a contracted salary. I think if people knew how long and hard these sales people worked, often times for free, they would not be so quick to feel like treating them with a lack of respect is okay. My husband has worked 16-hour days and had sales fall apart. He goes home with no money. Nothing is more discouraging. There is no guarantee he will get paid. It is entirely up to him and what he sells. That’s a lot of pressure.

My husband has been there for 2 years now. He is well liked and well respected by both his colleagues and his customers and that says a lot. He has worked hard to earn the trust of his customers and it says a lot when they become repeat customers and then refer their family and friends. He has gotten a lot of business that way. This job is not for everyone. So I respect my husband that much more for working hard, making sacrifices and becoming consistently successful at something a lot fail at.

**Disclaimer: There may be a lot of frustrated, complaining posts this week as husband is working a huge sale for the next 6 days and will not be home.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

No Itch To Scratch

When my daughter was 14 months old (the age my son is now) I became pregnant (with said son). I was excited about the pregnancy. I was ready for another baby. Part of that was probably because my daughter was such a little adult. She grew out of babyhood really fast. My son is still such a baby in a lot of respects. When I think about getting pregnant now I seriously start to hyperventilate. My son is SOOOO much work that having another child before he turned 2 would virtually be suicide. In fact the more of a "boy" he becomes the more I start to think that 2 kids might be my limit.

Then this week a good friend found out she was having a boy. It’s her first child and so I went out to buy her some baby clothes. As I was in the store going through all the cute little tiny baby outfits I started thinking, "Oh, I want another baby this small to hold and cuddle and smell."

So, I guess the best I can say is that I am undecided. What I’m absolutely sure of though is that if we do decide on baby number 3 it will not be anytime soon. I’d like to retain what little sanity I have left.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Review of "The Shack"

I read The Shack by William Young about a month ago and have been wanting to blog about it but just wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to say. I feel like no matter how hard I try that I won’t be able to adequately explain the premise or do it justice. Plus, a lot of times when books are rooted in elements of Christianity, much of the secular world is hesitant to read them. I really feel this is a book that anyone, regardless of his or her religious beliefs, could enjoy.

Despite being a Christian, I too am not really into all the Christian-based literature. I feel like oftentimes that the stories are wrapped up too neatly at the end. Most Christian based literature ends with the theme of "My life sucked because I disobeyed God. Then I decided to listen to him, turn my life over to Him and miraculously my life got better and everything then became perfect." Anyone who keeps at least one foot rooted firmly in reality knows that regardless of your religious beliefs there is no guarantee to a "perfect" or "happy" life. Fortunately, this book doesn’t really wrap things up to where everything makes sense at the end just because the main character re-establishes his relationship with God.

To a lot of Christians who read this you have to be willing to get over a lot of the preconceived notions and common perceptions that standard Christianity preaches about God and the Trinity. This book is not theology or rooted in biblical doctrine. It is fiction, a parable to try to explain the nature of one God as three separate people. It also aims to explain the relationship between the three. If you can get over the fact that in the book God is a black woman, which for me shattered all impressions I had of God but by the end found it strangely comforting in the sense that the author meant to show that God becomes for you what you need him to be, then the other spiritual aspects won’t seem so shocking. God also appears as the traditional father figure with an explanation that we commonly perceive and refer to God as our father because oftentimes a strong father figure is what most people are missing in their lives.

The story follows a father grappling with the loss of his 6-year-old daughter. She was kidnapped while camping and is presumed to be dead. Understandably the father is devastated; the family struggles to move on, the surviving daughter blames herself and is becoming more distant with her family. The father calls the role God plays in their lives into question. That is the crux of the book. It attempts to make sense of why God allows unspeakable tragedies occur. It also attempts to answer where God is in this world of pain and why He doesn’t step in and interfere when things like this are about to happen. It illustrates in simplistic terms God’s love for us and the relationship he desires with us. It made me look at the idea of the Trinity in a way I had never before thought of. To obviously buy into certain aspects of the book there is the presumption one is familiar with the fundamental basics of Christianity. Believing those basics isn’t a pre-requisite to understanding or enjoying the book though.

There has been both overwhelming praise and criticism for this book. It sits among the top on the best sellers’ list and has for some time. I think both the praise and the criticism are a bit extreme. Yes, it is a good book. Yes, it made God seem more caring and real as opposed to some invisible man who sits in the sky watching passively as bad things happen in the world around us. Is it based on Biblical doctrine? No. It takes the general premise and mixes it with quite a bit of liberal interpretation. The story is told in such a way to try to explain in the most simplistic of terms what is truly an issue of faith, something that really can’t be explained or rationalized. The ideas, concepts, and experiences described in the book are used to illustrate what he perceives to be the type of relationship God desires with each individual and to also explain and demonstrate the relationship the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have with each other. He takes the concept of the Trinity in keeping with Christian theology and attempts to demonstrate how they can be both three persons and one God at the same time. I would not tout this book as doctrine meant to be taken as a literal depiction of God. It is clearly not meant to be taken literally, but figuratively.

I did find it to be interesting and enjoyable despite the fact that much could be reworked to make it clearer and more concise. I think it is a good book for anyone to read but maybe especially for those who seem to be struggling with their faith or for those who have lost faith as a result of a personal tragedy.

Has anyone else read this? If so, what did you think?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Pool of Peace

I have always loved the water, but it wasn’t until my sophomore year of college that I actually learned to swim. I only did so then because I had just had knee surgery and it was one of the few exercises I could do during the months of rehab. I discovered that I loved swimming laps. It became my favorite form of exercise and since then I have always tried to implement it into my fitness routine.

I started seriously working out hard in April after close to a 3-year hiatus. The goal was to lose weight and become fit so I have spent a lot of time in the gym on elliptical machines and stationary bikes along with lifting weights. This week I decided to change my routine a bit and swim for 30 to 45 minutes as my cardio workout. It has been heaven (minus the fact that the initial weeks of swimming always kill my knees because of the mechanism of the kicking). There is something about swimming that provides such a solid sense of peace and calmness for me. There are very few times in my everyday life when my mind isn’t racing a million miles a minute or thinking about all I have to do. In the pool I notice I literally think of nothing. I simply swim focused only on my stroke. No other exercise provides for me that type of mental break.

So, what activity provides that type of mental break for you? Where do you feel at peace?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Little Ballerina

My daughter had her first day of Ballet Class today. She was so excited to put on her tights and leotard and ballet shoes. She looked so precious. All the little girls did. She was a bit shell shocked by the entire experience. She stood there most of the time just watching, soaking it all in. I wasn't really sure what she though; if she liked it. Afterward she said she liked it and wanted to keep going and that next time she'd try dancing with the other girls. Since she watched most of it I wasn't quite sure what she had absorbed. However, when we got home she told me almost every single girl's name in the class (there are 14) and what she was wearing. So, she was obviously focused.

The teacher seems to be really good with them and was really reassurring to my daughter and the few others who were hesitant to participate. She gently encouraged them, but also told them (and all us nervous moms) that it was okay for them to just observe. It's our first class of this sort so I want it to be a positive experience for her. I don't really care, in the long run, if dance is something she sticks with, but I do want her first experience as being part of a class, a team, to be a positive one and an experience she wants to repeat whether it is dance class or some other variety of class.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

He Stuck It Where?

Well, we had a bit of "excitement" around here today. My son stuck what I thought was a Polly Pocket shoe up his nose. Way up his nose! I saw him do it but was too slow to stop him in time. It was visible with a flashlight but too far up for me to safely remove it myself. I don’t even think I own anything long enough or small enough to reach that far up his poor nose. It was understandably uncomfortable and he was sneezing quite a bit, which I hoped would dislodge it. It didn’t.

I took him to the doctor so she could extract it. She wasn’t sure she would be able to, but said she’d try it twice and if she couldn’t get it she would send me to an ENT doctor immediately because she didn’t want to press the object further up his nose. Fortunately, she was able to pull it out on the first try. It wasn’t as easy as it sounds. It required the aid of three nurses to hold him down as he screamed bloody murder. She then had to pry his nose open with what can only be described as looking pretty close to what an ob/gyn uses to prop open your woman parts during a pap exam. She then used extremely long tweezers to grab hold of it and pulled it out.

It wasn’t a Polly Pocket shoe, which pleased my daughter greatly, but a round piece of pink hard plastic that had come off my daughter’s jewelry box. Anyway, he is fine although we were told to watch him for a week for any nasal discharge or odor (I know, gross) which would indicate something else is still lodged deeper in his nose.

So, then tonight at dinner my son is sitting in his high chair eating. You would think he would have learned his lesson about sticking things up his nose. Apparently he has not. I look up and he is trying to stuff pieces of chicken up his nose. If this continues he really might send me to an early grave.

Dear Local Gym, You Suck!

Dear Local Gym, You Suck,

Yep, yep you do. You’ve sucked for a while and I keep putting up with it for the sake of my fitness and overall goal of weight loss, but you are really starting to piss me off. I’m sick of you changing the schedules of when certain facilities are available yet not telling your members until after the fact. Do you know what a hassle it is to load up two kids, drive to the gym, unload them only then to find out the that facility I came to use is unavailable? Apparently not or you’d quit doing it.

It would also be helpful it you were to employ such people that weren’t socially deficient and incapable of doing any more than merely scanning a membership card. It would be helpful it they were able to offer solutions to issues I as a member have or at least direct me to the appropriate person to discuss my complaints with. It seems like it must be some type of pre-requisite that in order to work for your gym you have to maintain a certain level of incompetence and social ineptness.

Unfortunately you are the closest gym and one of the few to provide childcare and it is for those reasons alone that I continue to work out at your facility. However, my days may be numbered as I am getting sick of paying money every month yet the services I’m supposed to receive and the facilities I am supposed to be able to use continue to decrease. So to sum up my frustration…YOU SUCK and I HATE YOU!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Crazy Lies People Tell in the Name of Politics

Anyone who reads this blog frequently enough knows that I feel neither John McCain nor Barak Obama are qualified to hold the highest position in our country. To be altogether honest it doesn't affect me one way or the other which candidate floats your boat, though. What I do take issue with though is people making statements about candidates that are just totally false but trying to pass them off as true.

Case in point: the entire "Obama is a Muslim" email that has been circulating for months, maybe even longer. Whether you like him or not, whether you agree with his politics or think he will make a good president is your choice. I'm not here to tell you who to vote for. However, he's clearly not a Muslim and it's beyond annoying that generally speaking Republicans and the Religious Right have been trying to scare voters into believing that if they vote for Obama they are forsaking their Christian obligation and somehow supporting terrorism.

I've been thinking about what I want to say and how I want to say it and then I came across a post that said it perfectly. So, at the risk of sounding repetitive I will simply attach the link and you can read for yourselves.

One of the Many Reasons I Love My Husband

My husband is a good guy. I could compose a list of some really great and profound reason of why I love him. He works a lot and the only "sure" day he gets off each week is Sunday. If we are lucky he might get another day off sometime during the week. Here is what it comes down to right now. On the day or days that he is home he keeps the kids occupied for an hour so that I can take a nap. This may not seem like much, but any mother knows that uninterrupted sleep is priceless. A lot of times I never realize how tired I am during the course of the week until he is home and I feel like I can actually allow myself to be tired. Getting an hour of sleep this afternoon seriously was one of the best things he could have done for me.

Want To Be My Friend? And Other Awkward Moments

So, here’s the question for the day. When you meet another mom, at say the mall, whom you seem to hit it off with and have a lot in common with how do you say, "Hey, you’re pretty cool. You seem like someone I’d hang out with. Wanna hang? Here’s my number or can I have yours?" without saying "Hey you’re pretty cool. You seem like someone I’d hang out with. Wanna hang? Here’s my number or can I have yours?" and sounding a little creepy or desperate?

I met this woman at the mall yesterday who I spent 30 minutes talking to. Normally I’m not a big conversationalist with strangers, but with her the conversation just led from one topic to the next pretty naturally. It was great. She was funny and the conversation was totally easy. It actually felt like we had been friends for years. She has one child a few months younger than my son and oddly enough, I discovered through the course of our conversation, her husband is a guy I went to high school with. However, I needed to get going so I kind of abruptly ended the conversation, told her it was nice to meet her and chat with her and left.

Afterwards I started thinking I should have asked her to go for coffee (I don’t even drink coffee), or have given her my number or something, but I wasn’t sure if that would be weird. So, what do you think? What should I have done?

Monday, August 11, 2008

In Spite of My Mistakes

Motherhood brings with it a certain self-consciousness. I find myself criticizing my decisions or second-guessing my judgement. I am always thinking of ways I could have some something differently or handled a situation better after the fact. I guess that is why they say hindsight is 20/20.

The good news is that the longer I’ve been a mom the less I doubt myself. With each decision my resolve strengthens and my confidence improves. I quit being so hard on myself and so critical of my decisions. Being a mother is a constant learning experience. We will never know it all. We can only hope the decisions we make won’t mess our kids up permanently.

So far letting them stay up later than they should upon occasion, once in a while losing my temper and yelling at them, letting them eat fast food when I’m too exhausted to cook, and the myriad of other decisions I have made have not scarred them or turned them into bitter human beings. In fact, for all the mistakes I think I have made they are quite remarkable, well-adjusted kids.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

USA Men Win 4 x 100 Relay to Claim Olympic Gold

I may have witnessed the greatest race in history. I’m talking about the Men’s 4 x 100 swimming relay. Did you guys catch it? The French were the favorites heading into the race. Even American commentators and swimming experts put little faith in the American’s abilities to pull off a gold medal.

To add fuel to the fire, one of the French swimmers before the race said, "The Americans? We’re going to smash them. That’s why we came here." Well, lo and behold guess who won? That’s right! The good ol’ US of A. Michael Phelps was of course the big name winning the second gold of his possible eight gold medals, but the true hero of the night was Jason Lezak. The guy was absolutely incredible. I have never seen a guy swim a better leg of a race than he swam tonight. It will go down in history as one of the best Olympic swims ever.

While all four members of that team contributed and have a right to be proud, Lezak should be especially proud of the effort he put forth tonight. Truly, there are not words to adequately describe what he just did. Utterly amazing.

The Weirdness of Being Me

Is this weird? I admittedly have a lot of odd quirks, but my husband finds this to be among one of my strangest. I have an obsession with the proper beverage temperature. I can never just put ice in water, or ice in tea and begin drinking it. There has to be a certain ratio of ice to water in order to get the beverage to the temperature desired and then it must sit for a certain amount of time until all portions of the beverage are at an equal temperature. I have it down to a science. I hate when the ice melts before the drink is gone; the drink will never reach optimum temperature if that happens. It has come to such a point that I have a hard time drinking whatever it is if there isn’t the right amount of ice and the drink hasn’t reached optimum temperature. This usually occurs when someone other than me is getting my drink. You can be honest. Do you think this is weird?

A Brother, Not a Sister

My daughter had a rough time adjusting when we had my son. She wasn’t quite two yet and didn’t really understand why she now needed to share her mommy. Since that day a little over a year ago she has grown in leaps and bounds. Despite her love and adoration for her brother she has been rather insistent that she does not want me to have another baby. She says she just wants it to be her and her brother. So I was a little surprised the other day when she said, "Mommy, you can have another baby." I had to ask her to repeat herself, as I was sure I didn’t hear her correctly. Sure enough she repeated the sentiment. I said, "Oh, so you want another brother or sister?" She said, "No, not a sister; only a brother." I told her I had very little control over that. She may get a brother or she may get a sister. I could see the wheels spinning as she thought about this, carefully weighing the odds in her head and then she said, "Well, then I don’t want you to have another baby."

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Are Republicans Truly "Pro-Family"?

There seems to be a common belief amongst Republicans and the Christian Right that they are "pro-family" and the Democrats or other varieties of liberals are "anti-family". If you truly look at the Republican party and social conservatism in general, historically speaking, the Republicans have favored big business and Wall Street interests and really have not done much, other than claim, to protect the family. The Republican Party, prior to Reagan in 1980 was actually the party of feminism. (I only mention this as many in the Republican Party or the Christian Right claim that the women’s movement and radical feminism was the death of the family and traditional family values) Since early 1990 the Republicans have not done much in terms of promoting family policies or crafting and passing pro-family laws. Just look at the tax codes.

In 1970, when the wife chose to stay home and be a stay at home mom, the average income for that family was $40,785. In 2002 when the wife chose to stay home the average family income actually dropped, in inflation adjusted dollars, to $40,100. However, two income families increased their average income during the same time period by 35%. This type of tax policy forces mothers into the work force.

There is also evidence throughout history that documents when the interest of big business collides with the interest of a traditional, one-breadwinner family the GOP almost always side with business. Prior to 1980 it was Democrats that actually were in favor of the opposite approach. They almost always sided with family interests.

It would be nice if real conservatives would spend their money working for real change in family law and in tax-code rather than spending their time on trivial issues like keeping "In God We Trust" in the post offices and on our currency. The Christian Right needs to focus its efforts on something that would actually help the middle class and the poor strengthen their families. They are the ones, after all, who claim to be so "pro-family."

I’m not giving Democrats a free pass on this. Both parties need to work to make things better for family. We are one of the few countries that do not pay women when on maternity leave. In many European countries it is standard for women to take a year or more and continue to draw 90 percent of their salary. Here, women are lucky to get 12 weeks of unpaid leave. I call out Republicans because they seem to be the ones always espousing the virtues of family values, but when it comes down to it they have actually done very little to promote or protect the value of the family.

** Statistics taken from research by Allan Carlson, President of the Howard Center and director of Family in America Studies Center

Observations on the Human Condition

I started compiling these observations over the course of the past few weeks and for whatever reason just hadn't gotten around to posting them. I guess in light of recent disappointments now seems as good a time as any. I'm really not as cynical as most of these observations will imply, but it just seems that lately there is so much crap. You can't turn on the TV or get online without reading about some "mistake" of an individual. It seems that dealings with people in general are forced and empty. It makes me just want to lock myself inside with my husband and kids and forsake the drama of the world for a while.

Observation A: I think it is pretty standard practice that most humans expect to be treated a certain way. We want to be treated kindly, with courtesy and respect. We want others to be friendly and never cruel. We hope that others are honest with us and in dealings with us display loyalty and integrity. Isn’t it funny though how often times we don’t extend the same courtesy to others? It seems that a lot of times the people who become the most indignant when treated with less courtesy than they had expected are the same ones who rarely treat others with respect and dignity. They set impossible standards for others and yet they themselves fail to live up to the simplest of their own expectations. It’s a double standard that most of the time they fail to see. They expect to be treated a certain way, throw a fit when they are not, yet do not treat others anywhere close to the way they themselves want to be treated. Interesting!

Observation B: Some seem to treat family and friends and people in general like they are disposable. Constantly recycling through relationships every few years or months even. Most times it is always because the other person is "crazy" or "needy" or "strange". It seems to me that if you are dissolving friendships and terminating familial ties at an alarming rate and for superficial reasons that the problem may not be with them. I’m just sayin’.

Observation C: Giving and receiving apologies is a lost art form. People seem reluctant to give apologies when they really should. Why? I don’t know. Maybe they don’t want to appear weak or admit they were wrong. Then there are the people who go overboard with the apologies. For me, a simple, "I’m sorry. It won’t happen again" is sufficient. The flip side of that though is that people do a shitty job of receiving apologies. Half the time the one apologizing is met with, "Well, that’s just not good enough." It seems like many expect the offender to experience some type of indefinite period of penance to atone for whatever infraction they committed. If someone apologizes and they don’t repeat the infraction it would seem to a rational individual that the person and apology was sincere. If they repeat the infraction I guess you could assume they are not. It seems like it would just be easier to assume the person is sorry unless or until they give you a reason not to as opposed to presuming to judge the sincerity of the apology without giving the person a chance to make right what was wrong.

Observation D: I don’t understand people who can’t make a decision without consulting with their spouse or mother or father or best friend or mailman. Are they incapable of formulating a thought or opinion or making a decision all by themselves? I don’t mean when you say, "Well, I’m not sure if we are busy Friday night, let me check with my husband." I’m talking about people who cannot tell you if they believe a certain thing, if they like a certain product, if they approve of a certain method, etc. without first consulting with some part of their "inner circle." It is like until one of those mentioned above are consulted and deem it to be okay or helpful or beneficial or harmful it is not so. Doesn’t matter how many other people have told them the same thing. It doesn’t become relevant until that chosen person has offered his/her thoughts on the matter. It drives me nuts. I like independent thinkers.

Observation E: I often wonder how siblings who were raised in the same house by the same parents can turn out so differently. I understand the uniqueness of each as an individual, but I don’t always understand how some can differ so widely on core beliefs and values.

Observation F: There seems to be a lot of passing of blame these days. Very few seem capable of accepting responsibility for transgressions they have committed or feelings they may have hurt. It seems to be an epidemic. It seems that if you broach the topic with the person who hurt or offended you and try to explain the hurt or disrespect, they somehow find a way to dismiss your hurt and make it about them. They then find a way to manufacture feelings of hurt and conjure up all sorts of examples of how you are now disrespecting them by bringing up your feelings of hurt and disrespect. So your feelings are not only irrelevant and ignored, but now because you have brought to their attention your hurt you have now disrespected them. Hard to follow, isn’t it? Even harder to tolerate.

Observation G: When push comes to shove most human beings go to great lengths to help each other. You see this when tragedy strikes a community or in the instance of Katrina, which brought out the best and worst in human nature. I think we all have a natural instinct to help and protect one another when faced with extreme misfortune.

Friday, August 8, 2008

These Legs Were Made For Dancing

My daughter was lying down on the bed as I was trying to put her pajama bottoms on. Here is the conversation:

Me: Where are those pretty little legs? Let me see those legs.

Daughter: These legs wanna dance (as she starts moving her legs around in the air simulating dance moves)

Me: They wanna dance huh?

Daughter: Yep. They were made for dancing!

Do not ask me where she got this. I have no idea. Despite the severe case of "White Men Can't Dance" syndrome that my husband and I are both afflicted with she seems to have inherited some major dance moves from some very distant relatives.

If I Were a Betting Girl

Came across this article today. Just a random piece of information I thought was a bit interesting. This baby was born on 8/8/08 at 8:08 and weighed 8 lbs. 8 oz. What are the odds? I’d be heading to Vegas if I were the parents.

Elizabeth Edwards Is Standing By Her Man

So it goes without saying that this whole John Edwards sex-scandal really bothers me. I just find it deceitful that a man who was making promises to Americans about what he would do if he were elected to the highest office in our land at the same time was breaking the most important promise he ever made (his marriage vow) to supposedly the most important person in his life (his wife). If he could not keep that promise to someone he supposedly loves why should we think he’d keep his promises to us, the faceless voters? Anyway, I digress.

I, in no way, am casting judgment on Elizabeth Edwards for the decision she has made to stand by her man. That is a personal decision that only someone in that situation can make and really should not be held up to public scrutiny or judgment from anyone else. If she chooses to forgive him and move on that is her decision and she’ll have to live with the ramifications. So, I want to make clear that I am not begrudging her for seemingly forgiving her husband and trying to move forward.

However, I was struck by something she said in her statement. She said, "I am proud of the courage John showed by his honesty in the face of shame." I guess I found it a little strange that in the context of discussing infidelity that she would issue statement praising her husband’s courage and proclaiming that she is proud of him for telling the truth. I just figured it was a common expectation to be truthful. The statement seems to ring false with me. What is she proud of? Proud that her husband admitted he is a cheating liar? Pin a rose on his nose. I guess I don’t get what she is so proud of or what she finds so courageous about him being honest. It would be one thing to say, "I’ve forgiven him, I stand by him, please give us our privacy" which she did say. I just think it was unnecessary and probably politically motivated to proceed with her praise of him for being accountable for his actions.

Mrs. Edwards must be incredibly hurt, angry, and embarrassed. To have to face a spouse’s infidelity I could only imagine would be devastating. To do so in the public eye under much scrutiny must be excruciating. I don’t want to come across as callous or one to kick the poor woman while she’s down. I just really was rubbed the wrong way by her statement. It just seems like an oxymoron: courageous cheating liar.

John Edwards Admits to Affair

I'm not sure how many of you have heard about the John Edwards affair yet, but I'm betting before tomorrow you all will have heard something. The story is still developing, but the gist is that Edwards has admitted to having an affair that appears to have lasted two years with speculation that Edwards is also the father of her baby who was born in February of this year. He of course denies that he is the father, but has admitted to the infidelity.

Honestly, I am stunned. I have always liked John Edwards. I liked him when he was running with John Kerry and I liked him when he was campaigning for President. In fact, I was hoping he would be the Democratic nominee. So, it is with an especially deep sense of disappointment that I watch the story unfold. I wrote a post the other day about hypocricy and the disappointment we feel when we find out that our expectations of someone does not match the reality. It is certainly disheartening that while he was proclaiming the importance of family values, morals and honesty as a part of his campaign he was lying to his wife (and the people of America) and having an extramarrital affair. It is even more upsetting to me that he was engaging in this behavior as his wife was battling cancer. Truly that is probably immaterial. Betrayal on any level is devestating, but to betray your wife as she is fighting for her life seems especially cruel to me.

Infidelity seems to be increasingly common among our elected leaders. I don't know if that is true or if more are just getting caught and coming forward. In any event, I feel that if you are serving in an elected position you need to be above reproach. Sure, they are human but they need to not be putting themselves in positions that cause the people they serve to doubt their credibility.

The punishment for his crime will be decided by his wife. It will be tried and judged in the press and the court of public opinion. Ultimately, it will be his wife who has to decide if she can move forward with this man or if the betrayal was too much to get over. As for me I am disappointed that a man who seemed to be different, a man who seemed to be sincere when he said his family was the most important thing to him and that he had the utmost respect for his wife, is a man who has admitted to being immoral and a liar. (Wait, maybe he would make a great President).

My Daughter, The Cheerleader

Since I started working out in April I’ve been really good about making sure I get to the gym at least five times a week. I’m fortunate in that there is a child watch area where my children can play while I exercise. They love it, as it’s become a part of their daily routine. Most days I get up, feed the kids, and then head to the gym. It’s automatic. I don’t really ever even think about if I want to go or not, I just go.

Today was different. Yesterday I added some different lifts (namely weighted lunges) to my routine and also this week increased the amount of weight I lift. Needless to say, that today I was very sore. My butt, quads, and inner thighs just burned. It hurt to sit, walk, stand, and basically even move. The last thing I wanted to do was go to the gym and have to move these achy muscles. So, I decided that I would take today off.

About an hour after we all got up my daughter realized something was different and started asking if we were going to go to the gym. I told her that we were going to take a break today because mommy was sore and tired. She insisted that I go exercise. After some hesitation, I decided that instead of spending the next hour answering questions about why we weren’t going to go to the gym today I’d be better off just going. Once I got there and started beating cheeks on the elliptical I was really glad I went. The soreness wasn’t as bad once the muscles got warmed up.

I guess that sometimes all you need is a little push. In this case a push from a 3 year-old who is used to her routine. Who would have thought that a 3 year-old could be so persuasive and encouraging? When I picked her up from the child watch and after she told me all the toys she played with she asked, "Aren't you glad you exercised mommy?" Yes, yes I am!

Mustache Mania

Prior to two years ago my husband always wore a goatee, sometimes a full beard. I love that rugged, manly look. He took a new job in the summer of 2006 and was required to either be clean-shaven or wear a mustache only. Admittedly I am not a fan of his clean-shaven look. It’s taken a lot of getting used to. So, this week he decided to try out a mustache. Not a good look. Ridiculous in fact. Think cheesy 70’s porn star. I tried to get used to it, I really did but it got to the point where I could not have a conversation with him without bursting into laughter. I couldn’t look at him without hearing ridiculous get it on music in my head. Fortunately, he too did not like it and off it came this morning. I think my husband is sexy, but there was nothing sexy about that ‘stache.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Joys of Being Pregnant

I’m one of those rare women who loves being pregnant. Sure, it's uncomfortable, but overall it's a terrific experience. If pregnancy didn’t result in the birth of more children I would spend much of my time pregnant if I could. I realize this makes me a little strange. Most women can’t wait to pop the baby out and be done with it. I prefer to look at all the positives of being with child:

8. People give up their seats for you. Doesn’t matter where you are. If they see you waddle by they are usually inclined to offer you their seat.

7. You can get out of a lot of housework. Everyone knows it is not good for a pregnant lady to inhale cleaners or lift heavy objects like the vacuum.

6. Husbands become much more willing to cater to your self-indulgent needs like foot rubs.

5. At no other time are you encouraged to pack on the pounds.

4. What better excuse to eat what you want, when you want? It can always be blamed on cravings.

3. Your wait time in lines usually decreases. Just breathing a bit heavier or loudly saying, "Ooh, I think that was a contraction" suddenly seems to shuttle you through the line pretty quickly.

2. It is a good excuse to get out of going places. A nasty bout of morning sickness and suddenly everyone is very understanding of your inability to attend whatever commitment you weaseled out of.

1. It is the only time where it is socially acceptable to burp and fart and people not think you are void of any manners. People are much more understanding of that when you are pregnant and suffering from heartburn and irritable bowels.

The Hypocrite In All of Us

Everyone is a hypocrite to a certain extent. Some are obviously worse offenders than others, but we all at some point have earned the title of hypocrite. What concerns me though is those that fail to see how their actions are in direct conflict with their words. They talk about love and forgiveness and then fail to demonstrate that to others. Or they preach morality while engaging in immoral conduct. They speak of the value of loyalty, honesty, and integrity all the while proving to be a disloyal liar who hasn’t the slightest idea what integrity entails.

I’ve had an interesting year in that I have seen both the best and worst in people. Some offenders were not a surprise to me; it was only a matter of time. But others were truly shocking and disappointing. I was talking to my husband about my disillusionment and he said that oftentimes the biggest disappointment is not the actual offense but that our expectations of that person did not match up with the reality. He’s absolutely right! The offense itself is upsetting, but oftentimes immaterial. It’s the fact that someone you expected to be above that was not. It’s the fact that someone you held in high-esteem could stoop to such a level. It’s the fact that someone you thought you knew and could trust turned out to be quite the opposite and not at all who you thought.

So, what can be done? Nothing! I cannot control what other people think or do, as much as I would like to sometimes. I can only control how I react to what is done or said. I can choose whom I associate with and befriend. I can choose what organizations I belong to. I can choose whom I confide in and trust. Those are all aspect that I can control. Often times the best course of action is to not react at all or to simply remove myself from the situation. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. I need to quit expecting something different because I am only setting myself up to be disappointed.

Is my view jaded and cynical? Maybe. Is it a result of both observing others in action and I myself feeling disappointed in others? Yes. Am I claiming to be free from hypocrisy? No. Do I wish more would recognize their own hypocrisy and take immediate steps to correct it? Yes. So, am I jaded and cynical? Maybe, but I am also hopeful. Hopeful and confident that we all can make small changes and rise above the hypocrisy in our own lives. Hopeful and confident!

Cancellation City, Baby

I apparently have incredibly poor taste when it comes to the television shows I view. In the past few years it seems quite a few of the shows I really get into and enjoy end up being cancelled after one or two season, some after only a few episodes.

I can be objective and for some of the shows I understand why they were cancelled. I can tell that the plot wasn't going anywhere, that they've exhausted a story line, they've set the show up in such a way where there is not a lot of options, or whatever. However, other shows I really am dumbfounded as to why it was cancelled. It makes me want to quit watching new shows because they all end up cancelled. Can I really have that bad of taste? (In my defense there are plenty of other shows I watch that have been on for years. So, I guess I'm not entirely tasteless).

So, I've compiled a list off the top of my head of the shows that I have watched that have recently been cancelled. I'm sure if I really thought about it i could add some more to my list.

The Nine
October Road
Women's Murder Club
Big Shots
Cashmere Mafia
Men in Trees
Canterbury's Law
Notes from the Underbelly
Love Monkey
The Class

What do you think? Were you a fan of any of those shows?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sweet Baby Girl

I took the kids for a drive tonight (It's my easy way out of getting the kids to sleep). My dear, precious daughter sang the sweetest song to my son about how she loves him and would do all of these things for him....she went on in her song to list all of the things she'd do, like make him a birthday cake, hold him when he cries, buy him a bird :). In the process she not only sang him to sleep, but managed to drift off herself in middle of the 1,000th verse. It's moments like these that make all the other frustrations worth it. I wish I could just bottle the preciousness.


I love those days that are overcast and rainy. I love the smell of rain, the sound of rain, pretty much anything involving rain (except being stuck in rain, trying to get two little kids to the car). I always get this urge to just stay in bed under the covers, doze on and off all day while reading a book or watching TV. Then I remember I have two children and being a lazy ass is not real conducive to raising them. Ah, how I sometimes miss the days of yore.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

No Rest For the Mama

My daughter gave up naps months ago. Not that you could really call her 20 minutes of sleep a true nap. Regardless, it was nice to get a little break. Truly she probably could still use a nap but it becomes a decision of whether I want to force her to take a nap and risk having her stay up later at night or let her stay up during the day, even though she might be pretty grumpy in the late afternoon, so I can then put her to bed early.

Today I was exhausted. I was literally falling asleep as I was playing with the kids. A car ride around 1 pm is a sure thing in getting my daughter to fall asleep (usually something we avoid). Today I loaded the kids in the car and ran a quick errand and sure enough daughter was sacked out. I came home, carried her to her bed, and then thought I'd nurse son, he'd fall asleep and I'd have a nice little nap. No such luck. Son would not go to sleep. Little stinker stayed up the entire day today. Wouldn't you know that daughter ended up napping for 1 1/2 hours. Argh!

Makes You Wonder...

I received an email today from a former student who is now 24 or 25 and just had her first baby. The email introduced the baby and included a link to a website for a local photography studio where they just had the baby's photo taken along with family shots as well.

Here's the strange part. In her email she says, "Please don't post these photos on any web site. We don't want (baby's name here) on the internet. Thanks for understanding."

Huh? You are aware that you just sent out a mass email directing people to a web site? On the internet? Where anyone can have access?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Spotting of An Ex From Ages Ago

I ran into an ex-boyfriend last week. And by run into I mean I saw him from a far, followed him a bit at a safe distance to get a better look, then left before he could spot me. I know, real mature. Since seeing him, though, I am now curious as to what he is up to. Just the basics like if he’s married, has kids, what kind of job he has, and where he lives. I suppose had I not avoided him I could have asked him. It was awkward and there would have been no real graceful way to go about initiating a conversation. My husband suggested asking him a random question and then feigning shock at the discovery it was he. He also offered to go over and say, "Hey, I hear you dated my wife. Well, she’s hiding over there and would like to know if your’re married, have any kids, where you work, and where you live." I declined the offer. It was a little disorienting, though, because he was so tall and lean when we dated. He now has more of a "power lifter" physique. He’s built but has a paunchy stomach and no neck and his facial features are scrunched up a little like a shar pei’s. I remember him being so bright eyed and clean cut and he now had a kind of worn look, like the years had not been easy or kind. In a way it was a little sad because he was not at all how I remembered him. I guess oftentimes the love of youth is looked on either more fondly than it really was or with a greater sense of regret than it really deserves. I probably would not have recognized him at all except for his walk made me take a second look. It’s distinctive.

I’ve been married almost six years now and have rarely given an ex-boyfriend a second thought, but since seeing this particular ex I now have this morbid curiosity about what he’s been up to. I think most women wonder, whether we’ll admit it or not, what became of their ex-boyfriends, especially ones who were a significant part of their lives at that time, even if said boyfriends drove us crazy at the end.

So, what do you think? Should I have initiated a conversation? Or was I smart to run away?

Sunday, August 3, 2008


As humans it is in our DNA to complain a lot. When things don’t go our way or misfortune befalls us it is easy to wallow in self-pity. We forget a lot of the blessings we are fortunate to have. I complain about the stress of my day, not having as much money as I would like, the hassle of trying to do anything productive during the day with two little kids, the hours my husband works, the self-centeredness of others…and this is just the tip of the iceberg. In doing so I forget how blessed I am.

I am fortunate in that I get to stay home with my children while they are young, that there is enough money to provide food and shelter among other necessities and some luxuries too. I am blessed to have two remarkable and healthy children who bring me such happiness. I am lucky to have a husband who works hard so that I can stay home and while there will always be assholes among us I am very blessed to have great friends and a loving family. Often times in our day to day bitch fest we forget to be thankful for all that is good in our lives. If we stop to look I think most of us would find that the good certainly outweighs the bad.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Body Art

This is the result of a lack of adequate supervision and an "artistic" 3-year-old given Oreos. She insisted she was painting a "masterpiece." (Yes, with mushy Oreos)

Shut Up and Quit Whining!

I’ve read a lot of blog postings lately where some of the readers have become offended in the name of political correctness or factual accuracy or the like. I recently posted a piece that a few particular individuals were indignant about. I’ve posted in the past a few pieces about free speech, our first amendment rights, and the internal battle most bloggers go through when deciding whether or not to post a piece that may offend. It’s not a decision that most take lightly. For me I weight the potential negative ramifications with the importance of the point I am trying to make.

In the world we live in with technology at the forefront and the internet yet another avenue of communication it seems that often times the intent or meaning of words are not properly conveyed through cyberspace. On the other hand, people need to chill out. It is ridiculous that we have let political correctness overtake common sense. We’re so afraid that we might potentially offend somebody that we quit saying anything and quit taking stands on issues we believe in.

With all writing, but with a blog especially, there is a certain poetic license the author is allowed. Reading much of anything these days, but certainly a blog, requires it to be read with a certain grain of salt and the assumption that some "facts" may be exaggerated for effect. In very few forums other than blogging does the audience feel so entitled to so much input as to the content of the writing. You would never assume an author of a book or magazine article and newspaper publication would take out vital portions of his/her writing because it might offend or ruffle someone’s feathers and you as the reader certainly wouldn’t ask them to. (If you insist that you would you do really have a complex issue and nothing I say in this post is going to change that). People really need to get over themselves.

A blog is a singular person’s opinions, thoughts, experiences, frustrations, celebrations, ramblings, etc. It is an outlet for that expression, much like a journal, just a public one. Being a blog it is asinine to think that the blogger should take input from others when it comes to the content being potentially offensive. It’s also interesting that so many have deemed themselves the elected ones to dictate to a writer what he/she can or cannot write about. What makes them so special that they think writing should be censored for their comfort? I would suggest that if people don’t like the views being expressed on a certain blog then they should quit reading it. Nobody is forcing them.

I don’t have any overwhelming need to edit myself for anyone else’s comfort. I don’t intentionally try to hurt, offend, or piss people off. But I realize that as I write about topics that people have differing views on and write about a topic passionately I am bound to offend a few. However, this is my blog. It’s my place to be free to express myself. If, as a reader, you are offended, I am sorry. But let me ask you, are you truly offended or are you conditioned to respond that way because we live in an overly sensitive society that is expected to rally to the defense of all those who have been deemed "weak" or "handicapped" or "a minority" (the list goes on) and that being so conditioned to respond to all things in political correct terminology we have lost our ability to look at situations rationally and without any bias?

Mommy Needs a Break

Ever get that feeling like you are a prisoner in your own home? You can’t shower without one or both children constantly opening the curtain to see if you are done yet. You can’t pee or take a dump without an audience. You can’t take 10 minutes to check your email without nursing one child or answering a barrage of questions from the other. You can’t walk out of the room without one or both children bursting into tears and chasing after you. You sure as hell can’t sleep through the night without at least one child constantly trying to sneak back into your bed or the other demanding to suckle from my teat all damn night. I know I am not alone in this. All I want is for 30 minutes a day that are mine, all mine. I don’t have to read to them, get food or drink for them, answer their questions, or even just look at them. Just 30 minutes where I can sit in the room alone and stare if I want. Thirty minutes to play on the internet, read a book, watch TV, or take a freaking shower in peace for heaven’s sake. I am with my children from the moment they wake up every single morning until the moment they go to bed, which is a battle every night as I swear I am being punished for never sleeping for my mother, because neither child sleeps….EVER!!! I feel exhausted. Just utterly drained. They are sucking the life right out of me. I love their sweet little cherub faces to death and would not trade them for all the riches in the world, but would a break for mommy kill them? Apparently yes.