Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Dream Whisperer

Our daughter is a very vivid dreamer. Not only that, but she can remember very minute details of her dreams for days and talks about them quite a bit. She gets that from me. Even as a kid I can remember having very realistic dreams where I would mull over them for days. To this day I remember quite vividly dreams I have or have had in the past. According to my parents I had horrible night terrors and while I haven't seen evidence of this in our daughter I am concerned that she might be headed that way. She talks a lot in her sleep and has often woken up, or seemingly woken up, crying and disoriented.

This morning she came into our room and woke me up. She told me that she loved me and would always take care of me. I didn't know where this was coming from other than that is something I tell her quite often. She then proceeded to tell me that yesterday I was broken and she had to pick me up in the hallway and glue me back together but that she was scared she wouldn't be able to fix me and then she'd have to have a new mommy and she didn't want a new mommy, she just wanted her "old, regular mommy."

After assuring her that I was fine and that I'd always be her mommy and no one else would ever have the pleasure of being her mom I thought all was well. However, she spent the remainder of the day telling anyone and everyone who would listen (thankfully, only family members) that her mommy was broken yesterday and she had to glue me back together. It's been interesting to say the very least. I'm sure as with all things at this age it will pass, but I just wish I could get inside their heads sometimes.

Anyone else experience anything like this before?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Holiday Season is Upon Us

Well, today started out like any other normal day. My husband went to work and the kids and I played at home for most of the day. When the day began I had no intention of fully preparing for Christmas. I thought we'd take some walks, play in the backyard, visit my grandmother, and call it a day. However, this evening we went out to run some errands, do a little grocery shopping, and pick up some odds and ends for my daughter's ballet recital. Then we saw it. A Christmas tree lot. It was as if it were calling to me. My daughter saw it too and was instantly drawn. We couldn't resist. My husband and I looked at each other like, "Should we?". The answer was "yes, we should."

For the past month we have talked about just getting a little tree this year. Something just for the a 4 footer. It would be so much easier to decorate and toss too. That was the plan. Yet, strapped to our car on the way home was a 7 foot tree (in our defense the price difference between the two was only $5 which seemed a little weird to me).

Our plan was to simply put the tree in the stand and decorate it and the rest of the house tomorrow. However, once my husband set it up I couldn't resist. Out came the new LED lights (old school bulb style too....that's how we roll), followed by the decorations, stocking holders and stockings. Then I dug out the Christmas books I read to the kids only during the month of December. By the looks of our house you would think it was Christmas tomorrow. We are ready. The only thing missing are the gifts, which (gasp) I have yet to wrap. (I'm a little behind schedule this year).

In any event, now all we have left to do is to decorate our front yard and if my daughter's excitement is any indication it will be completed tomorrow. I love Christmas time for a variety of reasons, but mostly I love to see how excited my children get over little things like Christmas lights, or a Nativity scene, or Santa Claus. The unabashed excitement by both my son and daughter tonight was priceless and well worth the effort of decorating on the fly.

Snapshots of My Weekend

My son and daughter hugging each other on Thanksgiving morning.

Me, my daughter, and my parents' dog on their deck waiting for family photos to be taken.

My son did not like the snow falling into my hair. He spent the evening furiously trying to pick it all out.

Friday, November 28, 2008

What up Cuz

The other day I invited my almost 3 year old niece over to play with my daughter for a few hours. They get along great and I figured it would be a nice change of pace for my daughter. Sure enough they played together fantastically. In fact, they went into my daughter's room, closed the door and proceeded to play in her play kitchen and her Rose Petal Cottage for the next two hours.

Every time I would peek in to check on them my daughter would sigh and say, "Mom, please get out" and then close the door in my face. Likewise she would not let her brother in (which in this case is fine because she does need her own playtime with her own friends). They finally came out because they were hungry.

So, tonight we went to a local outdoor shopping mall because they manufacture fake snow and blow it out of huge machines to give the impression that it is snowing as you walk around. My sister, brother-in-law and their children came as well and my daughter and niece spent the entire night walking hand in hand. When it was time to leave my niece went and asked her mom if my daughter could spend the night (which she hasn't done before) and when the answer was no my daughter then came to ask if her cousin could come over "for just a little bit" tonight. Again, the answer no.

I swear the way they asked and then reported back to each other sounded like sixteen year olds exasperated with their parents for not allowing one to spend the night at the others. I wonder what it will sound like when they are actually, oh. my. gosh.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Let It Snow, Please...

Last year we took our children on a train ride called The Polar Express. I think I have mentioned this trip before. Anyway, Santa comes aboard and gives every child a bell and then hot chocolate and a cookie and then you ride the train for about an hour or so while looking at lights and displays all the way to the North Pole where you then see all the little elves furiously wrapping presents to load on Santa's sleigh. My daughter loved it and has talked non-stop about it since. (We are Christmas fanatics in our household; this is merely the tip of the iceberg).

As Christmas has approached she has been telling her brother all about the train ride and what happens and he nods and claps in excitement as if he too remembers, despite being only 6 months old at the time last year. Well, one of her favorite aspects of the trip was the snow. We live in Arizona so we don't see much snow. But Flagstaff, a city to our North, gets plenty of snow during the winter time. We went a week before Christmas last year and arrived a few days after their first snow. There was a ton of snow on the ground. It came up to my knees and we had a great time playing in the freezing cold.

We are going on the train ride again next weekend and while she is jazzed about Santa and the bell and the train itself, she is equally stoked about the snow. One problem: it probably won't be snowing yet. I have not had the heart to break this news to her yet in the hopes that snow will soon fall, but it appears to be unlikely. I've turned into an old person constantly checking the weather forecast for any possible changes or to see if there is a chance a storm front might move it. I even have the NOAA site bookmarked and am getting weather alerts on my phone (I know, a bit obsessive).

Regardless of the snow I am sure we will have a great time, but it really would be nice to have some snow for the holidays. We don't have many opportunities to bundle up (pretty much only the month of January) so I feel that I have to take advantage whenever I can.

On that note, hope you all have a great Thanksgiving tomorrow.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Time To Be Thankful

With so many struggling it seems like a strange time to be thankful. People are losing their jobs, their homes, and the lives they have built. As with a lot of families we, too, have had to make changes to our lifestyle: some subtle and some drastic. Our generation is in unchartered waters. Most of us weren't affected by past recessions because we were either not born or too young. It's easy to lose sight, when things are seemingly going so wrong, of the blessings we have been granted. There are many things I am thankful for.

I am thankful that I have a family that I love and that loves me. I am thankful that we are all healthy (knock on wood). I think of parents who watch their children die, struggling to figure out a way to pay for treatment. I think of mothers fighting terminal cancer knowing that they will never see their children grow up and it just about kills me. I think of families who have loved ones overseas fighting in a war, not knowing if they will ever see them again. I think of those with no families, no support system and wonder how they get by, how they function.

With Thanksgiving just a few days away it seems to me to be a good time to reflect on all that is good in our lives. Even those in the midst of despair or on the verge of losing everything have at least one thing to be thankful for, I would bet.

What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving?

The Fat Girl

This is me on Christmas Day 2007 (the fat one). Pictures don't lie and it's depressing to see I really was that fat.
This is me on October 2008 (30 pounds lighter). I think I still need to lose another 10-15, but at least I'm not the fat girl anymore...not that there is anything wrong with that, but it is nice to fit into smaller sized clothing and be in better shape and lead a more active lifestyle.

My Bliss

I had an 8 am meeting this morning that I almost missed because I slept through my alarm. That is something I never do, but speaks volumes about the type of night I had with a son who wouldn't sleep. Needless to say, I jumped out of bed, dressed very quickly and ran out the door, making it with time to spare. Thank God for no traffic and hitting every green light.

Anyway, after the meeting I did something that I can't remember doing at all in the past four years. I went to breakfast by myself. There were no children who needed their food cut, no one fighting to sit on my lap, no spills, and no interruptions. It was pure, unadulterated bliss!

I really do need to get out more......alone.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Pictures of Home

Santa brought the snow to Arizona!!! My son (in green) wasn't quite sure what to think. My daughter (on the right in pink mittens and polka dot ski hat) loved it.
His sister picked out his outfit...hat included. Charlie Brown?

This is a permanent state of being for my son. He is always looking in the fridge for something to eat. He usually comes away with string cheese or an apple. At least he's consistent.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Time for a Time-Out

You ever have those days where they just simply can't be over fast enough? Today was one of those days. It was long and frustrating and busy. I'll spare you the specifics but I will say that I am glad the day is almost over. It just seemed like nothing went right.

Oh, yeah and it was my husband's birthday. He was busy most of the morning with meetings (what a fun way to spend a birthday) but was fortunately home early and we presented him with his gifts and the cupcakes my daughter and I baked for him last night.

So after a day like today where I feel like I've been hit by a truck, run over and then backed over I was looking forward to just being lazy tomorrow. My husband has to work but I figured the kids and I could stay in our pajamas until noon and just hang out. Then I realized I am supposed to cover 3 events tomorrow all back to back to back, which means I'll be driving all over the city from 8 am until close to 2 pm with two kids in tow. Good times. So much for my lazy Saturday.

In the realm of things it is really not that big of a deal. Everyone is overextended and exhausted these days. I'm just tired, though. Physically, mentally, and any other way it is possible to be utterly exhausted. I need a break and the reality is that I never get one and I envision that only getting worse with various personal and professional demands and committments my husband and I have both made for the upcoming year.

So, now that my pity party has come to a conclusion, tell me what is on your agenda for the weekend?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Truth of the Matter

I have been a stay at home mom since July of 2005 and I love it. It is one of the most rewarding, albeit thankless, jobs that I have ever had. And certainly the hardest. There are no lunch breaks or even bathroom breaks, at least not ones where I get to go to the bathroom alone. I don’t get to leave my work at the office and my "clients" think nothing of waking me up all throughout the night. Oh, and I do it all for free. No paycheck. Being a mother (stay at home or working or somewhere in between) is hard work.

At the end of September I accepted a job writing articles for an online publication. I have fortunately been able to do most of this from home or at least bring the kids with me when covering certain events. This past week I received my first paycheck. It has been a long time since I received a paycheck and I have to admit it was slightly more rewarding than I thought it was going to be.

Having some type of tangible reward for work performed, receiving that type of recognition is nice. Don’t get me wrong. I love being with my children, but it is nice to see that I still have some value and worth that doesn’t simply revolve around only being a mom. It should not have taken a paycheck to reinforce that with me. My value and self-worth are wrapped up in a variety of aspects of my life…my family, my friends, my relationships, my beliefs and values, and apparently my work outside the home.

How about you?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Santa's Hos

My daughter's December ballet recital is appropriately a Christmas show, which means we have been inundated with Christmas songs for the past three months. (No complaining here, I absolutely love Christmas music). One of the songs begins, "Ho, Ho, Ho, Ho, Ho, Ho we are Santa's Elves." Today, while driving, she says, "Hey mom I want to listen to 'We are Santa's Hos.'" That's an interesting take. I'm starting to wonder what really goes on in her dance class.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Bit of a Break

A few days ago my daughter asked if she could go to "old" grandma's (my grandmother) to get away from her "snotty brother" as she put it. Granted, her brother has been a bit of a handful lately so I asked my grandmother if it would be okay to drop her off one afternoon so she could have some "alone time."

Tuesday I dropped her off and she could not get rid of us fast enough. She was pushing us out the door. This is the daughter that is normally in tears if I go anywhere without her. Apparently, she had had enough of her brother. She'd reached her limit.

I headed back home with my son to kill a few hours before going back to pick her up. My daughter apparently had a fantastic time. My son on the other hand spent the entire car ride home patting his sister's car seat and calling her name. When we got home he spent a good 20 minutes going from room to room calling for her. He seemed lost he didn't know what to do without her.

Finally, after enough distraction he realized he had me all to himself so we played and read and otherwise did what we normally do. With the normal chaos of two kids all the time I forgot how nice it is to be able to just focus on one kid....even if it is only for a few hours.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Three Books Worth the Read

Since having children rare is the time I actually have to read during the day or even evenings. So, I've taken to staying up, past when I really should, in order to actually finish a book. In the past month or two I have read three books that were worth the lack of sleep.

1. For One More Day by Mitch Albom; The story explores the question: What would you do if you could spend one more day with a lost loved one? Charley Benetto loses everything and plans to commit suicide. He begins a drive to his small hometown and ends up in a terrible car accident. He ends up somehow in his childhood home, talking to the mother he had lost years earlier. Charley ends up learning things about his mother and their family that he had never known before. He realizes how much she sacrificed for him. This book is touching and encapsulates all that mothers are willing to do or sacrifice in order to give their children the lives they think their children deserve.

2. The Secret Life Of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd: I wasn't sure what to expect with this book, but it turned out to be fantastic. It is set in South Carolina in the early 1960's. A young girl flees her father's home (her mother died when she was young) with her black housekeeper after the housekeeper insults one of the biggest racists in town and seeks refuge with a group of black beekeeping sisters. They once knew her mother and Lily, the main character, learns much about her mother's past.....some of it very painful. It was a terrific book about the bond between women, specifically the bond between mothers and daughters, even if those mothers are "stand ins" and not biological. One of my favorite lines from the book that really encapsulates the overall feelings of Lily was, "The first week at August's was a consolation, a pure relief. The world will give you that once in a while, a brief timeout; the boxing bell rings and you go to your corner, where somebody dabs mercy on your beat up life." Isn't that the truth?

3. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini: For whatever reason I passed this book over at least a dozen times. It never really seemed that interesting to me based on the jacket description. However, I was at the library a week ago and I decided to grab it. I stayed up until 2:30 am last night just to finish it. It was that powerful. Hauntingly so. It is set in Afghanistan and tells the story of two young boys, Amir and Hassan. What ultimately ensues sets both on a path that will alter their lives forever. Amir will have to learn how to let his overwhelming guilt go and seek redemption in one of the most selfless of ways, by returning to his war-torn home in Kabul to rescue a young boy. There was page after page of insighful observations, but this stuck with me: "Perspective was a luxury when your head was constantly buzzing with a swarm of demons."

Have you read any of these? If so, what did you think?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

When Does It Get Easier?

Does it ever get easier? A friend of mine asked me this question the other day as she just had her second baby a few months ago. My immediate gut reaction was "NO!" When I could tell I may have frightened her a bit I began to back track and think about the ways things might be getting easier. Unfortunately, I was hard pressed to come up with something concrete that she believed.

Here's the thing. My 3 year old daughter is pretty easy most of the time. She's self-sufficient. She can go to the bathroom by herself, dress herself, feed herself, play by herself, yada yada. Obviously I help her at times and play with her often but if push came to shove she could entertain herself for hours alone. When my son was an infant I thought it was hard because he nursed all the time (and he's still nursing) and always wanted to be held. If I put him down he'd cry and I'd often have to interrupt playtime with my daughter to console a screaming baby. Now that he's 17 months old he has a personality of his own. He has strong likes and dislikes and knows what he wants. Often times that is in direct conflict with what my daughter wants. The battle begins and fighting ensues. Because he is still only 17 months and doesn't understand the way my daughter does she is often the one having to give in to broker a peace treaty. It's not fair and I know it, but sometimes you do desperate things to get a few moments of quiet.

I think when you have two strong willed children and they are both at an age that is capable of exerting that strong will, things become difficult and stay difficult until they are both at an age where they fully (or at least better) understand compromise and taking turns and sharing. My son just isn't there yet.

So, to answer the question more completely. For me, things have not gotten easier yet. In many ways they are harder. But I do think when my son is a bit older (more my daughter's current age) things will be much easier. So, in that regards I believe that yes, things do get easier.

What has been your experience? When does it get easier?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Check This Out

If you get a chance please visit I'd love any suggestions you may have. Thanks and have a great weekend!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Quick Hits

* I'm a pretty casual dresser (jeans and t-shirts or khakis and sweaters)and since I stay home with the kids there are not many occassions that call for professional dress. Today I had to go and teach a class, which is the first outside the house job I've had since having children. Obviously, I dressed professionally and as I was leaving my daughter gasps and puts her hands up to her mouth and says, "Oh mommy, you just look soooooo beautiful in that." It was enough to melt my heart.

* One of my writing jobs for an online publication is to cover local events and activities, photograph them and then write a brief article. Nine times out of ten I attend these alone with both children. What could be a simple 30 minutes becomes a two hour event loading and unloading children, strollers, etc. It's nice that I have the flexibility to take my kids to "work" and then work from home to complete the article, but it is also a royal pain in the butt much of the time.

* One of our neighbors has already started decorating his house for Christmas. This is a guy who goes all out. He puts the Griswold's to shame. My daughter loves it. We have to walk down the street every night to see the lights and displays and since it is still under construction there is something new each night for her to "ooh" and "aah" over.

* I've lived in Arizona almost my entire life. I am still not used to the heat. I hate that it is November and still 80 degrees. It just seems wrong. If the opportunity presented itself I'd move back east in a heartbeat. The one saving grace that Arizona possesses is its Mexican food. I've traveled all over and there is not a state that comes close. It is the one thing I would greatly miss if I were ever to move.

* It is 7:40pm. Both kids are asleep. This NEVER happens. I am logging off and am going to go read and watch some TV.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Return

I taught high school English for 5 years before becoming a mom. I never had a problem speaking in front of a class; in fact, I was quite comfortable doing so. One thing I used to hate though was teaching to my peers during professional development classes. It made me nervous and it truly couldn't end fast enough.

Tomorrow I return to a classroom for the first time in almost four years. It's to teach a mock LSAT prep front of other teachers. My peers. Teaching an actual prep class to actual students wouldn't cause me to lose a moment's sleep, but knowing that my "students" tomorrow will be other instructors, some much more experienced than myself, is a bit nerve racking.

So at noon MST tomorrow if you'd be so kind as to please send positive vibes my way and hope for my sake that I don't choke, sweat profusely, turn splotchy red (which I have a tendancy to do when nervous or embarassed), or otherwise flat out embarass myself, I'd be greatly appreciative.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Oh, the Horror

I have a history of lower back problems dating back to my college basketball playing days. I used to have to spend hours in the training room getting treatment and stretched before practices or games and then hours after practices or games getting stretched, more treatment, and then iced. When I was done playing I had hoped the back problems would get better and overall they have. However, every couple of months my lower back will go out and render me completely helpless. Back in my pre-kid days I would wait it out in bed. However, that really isn't an option anymore so I pretty much just have to find a way to get mobile and ignore the excruciating pain.

A few days ago I could feel some soreness in my back. Being the moron I am I decided to go ahead and go to the gym anyway and proceed with my usual exercise routine which consists of running (on a treadmill) for 20-30 minutes and then lifting weights. Stupid move. By tonight I couldn't get off the floor. In fact I am still laying on the floor as I type this. I am in horrible pain to the point where I am sick to my stomach. For whatever reason running sometimes sets it off...I just never know exactly when.

Anyway, there is really no point to this rambling other than to say I am praying for relief....or death, whichever comes first at this point.

Keychains and Kitchens

Against my better judgment I went to Walmart yesterday in search of a simple keychain. My current keychain has a broken clasp and my keys keep falling off. Apparently, keychains are hard to come by in Arizona...they have them in every other state we vacation in. Anyway, I walked in and saw a Hispanic woman putting merchandise on the shelves. I assumed she spoke English since she was in a position to interface with customers. Here is the conversation that ensued...(I swear I could not make this stuff up).

Me: Excuse me, do you guys carry keychains?
Her: Keychains? (she repeated but looked very puzzled)
Me: Yes, keychains.
Her: (very long pause...slowly and haltingly she begins to speak) Like you cook in the kee-chin (kitchen)
Me: No, no keychain (and I take out my keys to show her)
Her: Oh (a look of recognition flashes over her face) I not know.
Me: Okay, thanks.

In relaying this to my husband he says, "That's like one of those jokes. You need to blog about this."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I Think I Won....

Back in August I took my wedding ring in for a routine cleaning and to have one of the prongs replaced. Over the course of the cleaning and repair there was damage done to the ring. (You can read all about it here and here). Long story short they kept trying to fix it but in doing so did further damage and ended up dispersing the platinum so much on my engagement ring that it ended up less than half the width it was originally. After the 9th attempt, while trying to mitigate our damages, we refused to let them work on it further and instead asked them to pay for another jeweler to fix it. They refused. We then asked them to replace the ring, which they basically laughed at and most certainly refused. We ended up having to sue them.

We filed the claim in small claims hoping to resolve it with minimal hassle and fees (and without the need of involving lawyers) The jeweler went out and hired one of the most high powered law firms in our state (purely to try to intimidate me, I am sure) and here in Arizona if either party requests a transfer out of small claims it is automatically granted (despite the fact that the amount we were suing for was under the small claims maximum). We could not afford a lawyer so I got stuck representing myself -- with quite a bit of free counsel from my lawyer brother, who unfortunately resides in another state or you bet your ass I would have made him represent me.

Anyway, we've been dealing with the legalities since September and I guess once they saw we weren't just going away and saw that we proceeded with all the paperwork to set the court date then they wanted to try to settle, which frankly is what we wanted anyway. Long story short, they eventually (after quite a bit of back and forth) agreed to replace my wedding band and engagement ring (I would just have to have my center diamond reset into the new ring). I, in turn, would dismiss the case with prejudice and without cost or fees to either party.

I got my new ring at the end of last week. Set side by side with the original that they damaged (yet, of course, will admit no fault) it is incredible the amount of damage that was done....I knew it was bad, but to see it next to what my ring was supposed to look like took my breath away. I'm still going to take it to an independent jeweler to have it looked at, just to be sure and then sign the stip and order for dismissal. So, it appears this will soon be over; one less headache to have to deal with.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Free Books

I read about this pretty cool opportunity on Mark's blog. Basically you apply to this site and you can request books from the select list they provide. You then read the book, provide a review of the book on your site and on a consumer site, such as Amazon, and you then get to keep the book. Once the two reviews are posted you can request your next book.

So, I signed up and was approved. Today I got to choose from a selection of only about 7 books (two of which were children's books though). I reluctantly selected the Lynne Spears book...although I admit I am a little bit curious about what goes on in that family.

Anyway, I am now awaiting my book. I think the next time I may request a children's book. I figured it is a great way to get free books, not to mention being exposed to books I might otherwise have overlooked.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Running On Empty

I have spread myself very thin lately and it is beginning to take its toll. I'm tired and grouchy and did I mention tired? My husband is working a lot as usual but to now compound that I am working from home and it is hard to do that when I have two small children. Not much gets done. Plus when I do set aside time to work I feel guilty about not interacting with my kids for an hour or so...even though they are usually perfectly fine and occupied doing something else. (That is until there is some major crisis that errupts sending both of them into hysterics).

I am also currently considering taking a job teaching LSAT prep courses. It would only be 7 hours a week (spread out over 2-3 days) and something that could most likely be arranged around my husband's schedule. Plus it pays well. I'm not sure I really even want to do it, but I might.

The problem is I think I got a bit over eager and said yes to too many "jobs" when I should have just accepted one or two and focused on those. Now I feel like I don't have enough time for anything and I spend my days with our children (which I am blessed to do and totally fine with) and running our household but my nights are now spent working. That doesn't leave much time to sleep or do anything else for that matter.

How's everyone else feeling these days? Overworked? Underappreciated? Wonderful? Anywhere in between?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Nemo and MacIntosh

We bought the kids a beta fish about a year or so ago. Everytime one would die we would just replace it with a new one before she noticed. Then my father built this pond in his backyard, complete with fish..gigantic gold ones. My daughter is obsessed. She feeds them, talks to them, test the ph of the water, etc. So, when our third beta died she said she wanted a gold and black fish "like grandpa." We honored the request and those two lasted quite a while. When my husband killed them (yes, he killed them...not intentionally but the result was the same) she didn't seem to notice. So, we gladly thought we were done with fish. Here we are a few months later and she has remembered that she once had fish. She asked me today why I made the fish leave our house. Uhhh.....

So, back to Petsmart we went and home we came with two goldfish. One is white and gold, the other black and gold. She has named them Nemo and MacIntosh. Where she came up with Nemo is very clear, but I have no idea where MacIntosh came from, but she is insistant that that is his name. So, Nemo and MacIntosh it is.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Feminist in the Making

About 8 to 10 months ago I took my two children to a Hillary Clinton rally. My daughter had a great time chanting, "Hillary, Hillary" at every available opportunity and still, this many months later, she talks about Hillary like they are old friends. So, today she saw Barak Obama on the news and I asked her if she knew who that was. Here is the conversation that followed.
Her: "That's Barak OMama."
Me: "That's right. He's going to be our new President."
Her: "I'm not going to like him."
Me: "Mommy and Daddy like him. You might like him too."
Her: "I like the girl better."
Me: "What girl?" (I'm thinking 'oh please don't let her say Palin')
Her: "Hillary. I like Hillary better than Barak OMama"
Me: "Well, you can like Hillary better if you want."
Her: Runs through the house with her fist in the air chanting, "Hillary, Hillary."

Dogs on the Loose

My children love animals, dogs in particular. We have a dog and at one point not long ago we had two dogs. My parents have a dog who my children adore and my uncle has a huge, but friendly, rottweiler who my children have recently grown attached to. (My daughter loves her because she looks like Carl). So, needless to say they are not afraid of dogs and I would like to keep it that way. A traumatic childhood experience with an animal can make one fearful for life and that is the last thing I would want.

This evening my husband and I took our children for a walk around our neighborhood. As we rounded a corner three big dogs charged us. I picked up my daughter and held her over my head and my husband did the same with our son. The owner yells over, "Oh, they're friendly; they just want to play" and proceeds, in no great hurry, to try to round them up. She manages to get two dogs back on the leash when the third suddenly turned back and lunged at my daughter (who was no longer over my head), scaring her badly. I was furious. The woman then said, "I really should get them back on a leash." It took every ounce of restraint in me not to choke her with the damn thing. The bigger part of me said, "Yes, you should. There are leash laws." She continued to let the third dog just run around as my husband and I stood there with our children.

I don't doubt that those dogs were friendly. I don't think they were lunging to attack. I think they were excited and wanted to play. However, they are unknown dogs to us and regardless of how wonderfully behaved we think animals to be, they are still animals and animals are unpredictable. Plus to a child, friendly or not, a dog twice his/her size coming at him/her is frightening.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Am Hopeful

I am one of the many who is glad that Obama prevailed and is our President-Elect. I am hopeful that he will live up to the hype and redirect our country back to the path that it has so drastically veered from these past 8 years. I watched anxiously as the polls closed in key states and celebrated when Obama clinched the battleground states that were so vitally important in winning this election. I watched McCain's gracious concession speech and thought that if he could have come across that humble and gracious throughout his campaign he would have stood a much better chance (although that doesn't change his stance on issues it maybe would have changed how some viewed him). I realize that while I am celebrating this victory there are many who are disappointed and beyond that angry and indignant and blinded by their party's propoganda.

This victory gives me a lot of hope. While I have great hope for Obama's presidency, I also have hope for the millions of Americans who are disappointed by this decision. I would hope that they would really look at what Obama has said and where he stands on the issues and not cling to the rhetoric that has been so prevalent throughout the campaign. I would hope that people would quit saying Obama plans to do one thing when he has very clearly said he'd do the other. I would hope that it would become less and less acceptable to so casually toss around words like, "terrorist, Muslim, socialist" as synonymous with Obama. I realize all candidates run on issues and promises that some either aren't able to keep, won't keep, or simply had no intention of every keeping. That's just the way it is whether you are a Republican, Democrat or somewhere in between. What has bothered me and what I would hope would now stop is the gross misrepresentation of Obama's plans when it comes to issues like taxes, healthcare, abortion, education, and the environment.

I have sat and listened to ignorant people claim that because he attended a Muslim school when he was a CHILD that certainly means he is a Muslim today. How can someone be held accountable for decisions that parents made for them when they were a minor? I have sat and listened to people tear apart his tax plan with gross inaccuracies. You may not agree with his plan, but at least get what he is proposing correct. Half the people complaining about having "their" money taken and given to the "poor" and "lazy" don't make enough to be affected by these increases anyway. I have sat and listened to conservative Christians claim Obama is "for" abortion. Is anyone "for" abortion, truly? Being against the government having a say in a personal and moral matter does not make someone "for" the issue at hand. There is a difference.

It was interesting to me during Bush's administration the number of Republicans who said all the time how Bush is our President and like it or not we should support his decisions and support him. For the most part I agree with that. While I personally thought Bush was one of the worst President's this country has ever seen and I disagreed with him on almost everything I always had respect for the office he held and would never wish him any personal harm or misfortune. It will be even more interesting if this sentiment of respect and support is now expressed when there is a man in office who they did not vote for. Does the same courtesy apply?

This campaign and election has brought out both the best and worst in people. It is amazing to me to think about how many people voted this year. It is mind-boggling that a black man will soon hold the highest office in the land when it was not that long ago that a black man could not even vote. I am hopeful tonight that this nation can find a way to come together, to meet somewhere in the middle and start finding solutions to the problems that have plagued us for so many years. We need a president who can do that and honestly I think we will soon have him.

Here's to hoping, America!

In Lieu of an Actual Post

* I have been anxious all day to learn of the election results. So much is riding on this.
* After a month break from the gym due to illness, work demands, and a variety of other reasons I returned today in the hopes to lose my final 10-15 pounds before the New Year. It felt great!
* If I say the word "cry" my 17 month old son says, "Mama" in his whiniest voice and contorts his face into the saddest look before cracking up laughing.
* My son got into my grandmother's blood pressure medication today. It was our first call to poison control. Fortunately, all ended up okay, but it was a scary couple of hours.
* My husband was putting books back on my daughter's bookshelf when she walked in and told him he wasn't doing it right. She then said, "What are we going to do with you? Daddy we might just have to sell you."

On that note, have a great night and by this time tomorrow we should have a new President-Elect

Monday, November 3, 2008

Picture Diary of the Celtic Festival

As mentioned in a previous post we attended the Celtic Festival yesterday. Below are some pictures from the day.

My daughter in the Petting Zoo area. Here with a Shetland Pony. This lady was a wonderful dancer. My daughter kept referring to her as "Freckleface Strawberry" (in reference to the book with the same name) and declares that when she turns 4 (the minimum age they'll accept) she wants to "do Irish dancing."
The shot put in times of yore.
Get a load of this menu. Interesting. I think Sarah Palin helped create it.
The bagpipers during opening ceremonies.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My Weekend By the Day

FRIDAY: Good ol' Halloween. We got things started off right by attending a live performance by the BoDeans. They were fantastic and truly I had chills throughout much of the performance. They are one of those rare bands where they actually sounded more incredible live than they do on CD. After spending a couple hours at the "concert" we came home and spent some time playing outside. I was even able to convince both kids to sleep since I knew we'd be up late trick or treating and I wanted to avoid a public meltdown. That evening we headed over to my sister's house and had dinner and then hit the pavement at 6 pm to begin trick or treating. My daughter and niece (separated by only 5 months) went as Cinderella and Tinkerbell, respectively. They went hand-in-hand to each home all night. Very precious. Once my daughter's bag got full, though, she declared that she had enough candy and was done. My son also had a great time stopping frequently to admire all the decorations. The people got a kick out of him constantly saying, "Tank ooh" for "Thank you." So, by 7:45 pm we went back to my sisters' to get the kids in their pj's. They played with their cousins for a while and then we headed home and kids were out by 9:30....not too bad for an eventful night.

SATURDAY: My husband had to work so I spent most of the day playing, reading and watching Tinkerbell with the kids. Later in the evening we attended a wine tasting, which was a much needed change in pace from what our frenetic pace of late has been.

SUNDAY: Girls Day (and a grandpa)! I wanted to take my daughter to a Celtic Festival and invited my folks to come along. My husband stayed home with our son for some man time. It was a blast. There were performances by Irish bands, Irish step dancers and Scottish highland dancers. There was great food, beer, wine, amd even mead. There was even a petting zoo, which my daughter loved. I have never seen so many men in skirts (yes, I know they are kilts) and frankly they were pretty sexy. Maybe that should become traditional men's wear. There were a variety of events that passed as games in times of yore. Really, it was a terrific time but it was outside and so incredibly hot. I spent a few hours in the evening finishing up articles that I needed to submit to my editor and battled with computer issues that really make me just want to throw the damn thing out the window. I finally finished up the two articles I had looming over my head and called it a night.

So tell me how your weekend was spent?