Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I Have To Write About It...

Facebook and Twitter are exploding this week with both sides of the "Marriage Equality" debate.

I'm a bystander on both.  I don't post a whole lot, I almost never tweet.  But I do have my blog.  That's where I usually put my thoughts.  Probably because no chance I could keep it to 140 characters.

Here's the way I see it, you can agree or not...but it's my blog, so I write what I want.

One of the biggest oppositions I hear about gay really the only opposition I hear...are religiously based.  But I don't think this is a religious matter.

I am not religious.  I believe in some form of God.  I believe there's more than this life.  I believe in a soul.  I pray.  But I am not religious.  I really can't remember the last time I went to church.  I can't make myself believe and follow all that is said in a church, because to me it comes down to just a few simple rules that I try and live my life by and try to instill in my children...

-Treat others the way you want to be treated.
-Love is better than hate.
-When possible, do no harm.
-Stand up for what's right, even if it's not easy.

These really are the fundamental values of religion...but then somewhere along the line you throw in guilt and absolutes and demands...and I'm sorry, I just can't get behind all that.  I struggle with the fact that I don't go to church, that I'm not exposing my children to church...but then I come back to my own values and I think I'm doing alright.  And if you want, you can judge me for it.  I'm sure lots of people do.

So the religious veiw point on marriage doesn't really speak to me.  But I guess my point is, that this is a political matter.  A matter of civil liberties...not a religious matter.

If you believe that homosexuality is wrong.  Okay.  I don't agree with you, but I can respect your viewpoint.  I know homosexual people, and they're not evil.  No more evil than any heterosexual people I know.  Are they sinners?  Sure, but so am I.  Are they sinners because of who they love?  I personally don't think so.

If your church believes it's wrong and won't marry them.  Okay.  Again, I don't agree and I won't be attending your church, but I can respect a church's right to deny marriage or any kind of religious ceremony to someone that has a lifestyle they don't agree with.  That's part of what religious freedom means.

But the government?  The government is not a church.  They don't get to pass judgement.  Their job is to protect us, protect our rights.  And I do believe that we all, every American, should have the same rights.  If I have the right to get married to the person I choose, so does my gay neighbor.

And you know what?  I don't even think we should vote on it.  Our votes should be about things that influence our lives.  Guess what, if my gay neighbor marries his gay boyfriend?  It doesn't really affect my life.  So why do I get a say?  No one ever voted on if I was allowed to get married.  Why do I get to vote on someone elses decision to do so?

There is a line in the Declaration of Independence.  A line you've heard.  A line in the document that declared us our own nation.  That declared that we would no longer be at the will of the British empire.  Yet, that line gets overlooked so often, and really it sums up what we should be about.  What all of us, as Americans, should matter what our church preaches, or what our Bible reads.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal..."

All men.  Gay, straight, bi, transgender, white, black, blond, green eyes, whatever.  We're all equal, we all get the same rights...or we the eyes of the government.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

My Favorite Milestone

By far, my favorite milestone is language development.  Yes, it is thrilling when your baby takes her first steps or learns to use his spoon.  But language is just amazing.  You have this little baby that grunts and cries and coos and that's about it.  Then all of a sudden, he's stringing together syllables, then words, then sentences.

And the best thing about it?  It keeps going.  Once a kid walks, she walks.  But language is ever developing.

Language is an evolution.  A word starts out as a grunt until the child is fully saying the exact word years later.  Freddie started at about a year calling Ainsley, "Eh."  Soon it became, "Aidy."  Then it was, "Ainsey."  But now he found his L's.  So he is saying "AinsLey," with quite an emphasis on the "llll" sound. 

Now he's only three.  So he still says things funny.  He calls Connecticut "Nectut."  He doesn't say nothing or nowhere or no one.  I say "What do you want for dinner?"  "Anyting," he responds when he means nothing.

Ainsley used to use the same word for alligator and elevator.  It was something like "eledator."  So you really had to pay attention to the context or you could be riding an alligator to the second floor.

Even now, Ainsley is still developing language.  She is learning to read and write.  It is possibly one of the most incredible things I've ever witnessed.  Just 6 months ago she couldn't read anything but her name.  And even that was iffy.  If she saw a word with an A and a Y in it she might have said it read Ainsley.  Two months ago she was asking me to spell everything for her.  And now?  Well Sunday, she asked Clif and I to babysit her daughters.  So she left us a few notes on  how to care for them...

It reads: Mi anb my husbin is go to a mebng you are go to babesite.
It says: Me and my husband are going to a meeting and you are going to babysit.

It reads: Thea Neb To go To Beb at 63 Thea Neb to hav Dinr at 83.
It says: They need to go to bed at 8:30.  They need to have dinner at 6:30.  (She explained that she had mixed up the times for us.)

It reads: When she my babe cris she can rib in a ???
It says: When she, my baby, cries she can ride in a stroller.

One minute they are totally dependent on you.  Completely vulnerable to the world.  Being held every moment.  The next they're asking you to babysit and being all bossy about dinner and bed times.

Don't blink people.

Monday, March 18, 2013

What is Three?

Dear Freddie,

Today you are three.

I just talked to Daddy and he says you were a bear this morning.  You didn't want to go to school.  You didn't even want to have "Happy Birthday" sang to you.

Three is a tough year.  I remember, just after Ainsley turned three I took her to the doctor and mentioned how defiant and impossible she had gotten.  The doctor smiled and said "Yeah, three is way harder than two."

No one tells you that before you have a three year old.  They call it the Terrible Twos, not Threes.  Maybe because at two a child gets brave and ambitious and makes a parent go insane with all they're in to.  But at three, a child actually starts thinking like a little person.  Starts reasoning and figuring all the stuff out.  They do know what's right and wrong, what should and shouldn't be done...but they don't care.  And that is way harder to deal with than the brave little two year old.

Three is still in diapers but wants to try on the potty every day.
Three still needs help getting his clothes on but insists on doing it himself.
Three loves his big boy bed but still wants to cuddle and rock.
Three is hilarious.  Sometimes on purpose and sometimes not.
Three loves to follow his big sister around but still has a voice of his own.
Three is fist fulls of energy bouncing off the walls but crashes hard at bedtime.

Three holds so many contradictions.  It's this transition from toddler to little kid.  It's the want for independence but the need for help in a grown up world.

Freddie, you have brought so much joy and laughter into my life.  You are passionate and loud and determined and beautiful.  You are smart and witty and brave.  Sometimes you are more than I can handle.  You are, by far, the most amazing little boy I have ever met and I'm so grateful that you burst on the scene three years ago.

I love you little man.  Happy Birthday.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Four Years Ago...

...I was preparing to host a whole slew of people at my house.  My brother-in-law had just gotten engaged.  All of my in-laws, plus my soon to be sister-in-law's family were all meeting at my house for a bit of a celebration weekend.  Plus my sister and her then boyfriend, now husband, were coming.

And I had just had the miscarriage.

We had been looking forward to that weekend.  We knew Cameron was proposing the week before and we were so excited to have everyone there.  But then this huge tragedy happened - I mean, at the time it felt tragic, it was definitely one of my worst moments - and all I really wanted was to lay on the couch all weekend watching sad movies.

It's hard to believe it's been four years.  I was just talking with someone recently and I said it happened 2 years ago.  I stopped and said "Wait, no...4 years, 4 years ago." And I was astounded.  Four years?  It seems so much closer than that, because sometimes it still hurts.

Weird thing is, I had Freddie exactly one year later.  And I wouldn't trade him for the whole I guess the universe and mother nature knew what they were doing.  I really can't imagine a world without Freddie in it.  In fact, my eyes get all teary just thinking about it.

I remember, how painful those first few months after it happened were.  How angry I was.  How nothing seemed to make sense.  People said the worst things.  I don't blame them.  I mean, if you've never experienced it, what do you say?  You say things like "Well at least you never felt it move," or "Everything happens for a reason," "Lucky for you it was so early," or "You already have Ainsley," or "You'll have another baby," and my personal favorite..."God has a plan."  God has a plan.  I have to say that nothing makes a person feel crappier during a low point than hearing that.  Because in my not so stable, still a bit hormonal mind that said - So God's plan is to make me miserable?  Why?  What did I do to deserve his wrath?  What about my plan?

However, there were a few people who got it.  Those ladies cried with me and understood all of my crazy emotions.  They listened to me go on and on and didn't think I was crazy when I said "Screw God's plan."  Because they had been through it.  So they knew.  They knew how it felt to soar with the knowledge that you were pregnant and then be pulled, crashing down to the ground, with the realization that you suddenly weren't.

Recently I found out that someone I care for quite a bit had a miscarriage.  I was very tempted to say all those dumb things people say, because in that moment, you just want them to feel better.  And having got to the other side, I know that some of them are true.  Instead, I held my tongue and just listened.  And then I told her that she wasn't crazy, that it was okay to have these feelings, that they wouldn't go away overnight...but eventually, they will subside.  That one day, you'll have your babies and it will all make sense even though there's no way to possibly see that now.  And every year around the due date or around the miscarry date, you'll get a little sad...a little reflective...and maybe feel the need to write a blog post about it.  But then the rest of the year, life will move on just as it always has.

So in that darkness, this is my light.  This is the "Why me?"  I doubt I made her feel better, but I hope I didn't make her feel worse.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Dear Mother Nature

I hate snow.  Like the thought of it snowing and being cold and possibly having to be out in it, gives me chills.  I am so ready for spring and the warm weather and all the wonderfulness that brings.  So feel free to kick that up a notch any time.

However, I'm aware that we have not had a solid snow storm in quite awhile.  So I am willing to offer a compromise, only because my kids really, REALLY want it to snow so they can use the new sled that Santa bought them.

Don't tell, but buying them sleds and snow boots this year?  That was totally my ploy to assure that it would not snow, because I just have really awesome luck like that.  Last time it snowed we had to wrap Ainsley's feet and hands in plastic bags because we were totally not prepared.

Anyway, back to the compromise I mentioned.  Go ahead and snow.  But none of this flurries BS.  If it's going to snow...make it SNOW because I absolutely do not want to be driving to work in it.  And, we all know that schools will probably close tonight for the next week because of all the hype.  I also can't afford to take the time off.  Plus, I'm required to go to my organizations Congressional Testimony tomorrow...I'd really like to get out of that - snooze fest!  So, snow enough to shut down the federal government...and you have yourself a deal.

Oh but blizzard either.  I'm not down with being stuck in my house for the next 5 days and I have plans this weekend.  If we could shut things down for 1-3 days, that'd be great.  But then bring on the sunshine and high temps!

Me :)

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Good and the Bad

Like most things in life, with pregnancy comes both good and bad things.  I know that some people have horrid pregnancies, with cracked pelvises and barfing until the water breaks.  I also know that some people breeze through pregnancy with barely a symptom.  I fall in the middle.  I think most people do.  I've had my ups and downs with pregnancy.  I thought I'd put together a list of little known pregnancy pros and cons.  I know quite a few people right now trying to get pregnant or recently pregnant with their first.  This is all from my perspective, but maybe this will give you some insight on what to expect...for real...

The Good...

1 - Hair
If you have long hair like me, you despise the bathroom hair.  I can clean the bathroom and still find long strands of my hair clinging to the faucet or piled in the corner of the room.  Clif also hates it.  When you're pregnant, you stop losing your hair.  The bathroom stays much cleaner.  Also, for two of my three pregnancies my leg hair has stopped growing.  Yes, you read that right.  No shaving.  Well, not no shaving but we'll get to that later.  I can't really explain it, but really I only shave my legs maybe once a month at this point and even when I do, there's barely anything to shave.  It is pure awesomness.

2 - Appetite
I have a big appetite, even when I'm not pregnant.  If I let it happen, I can eat a whole pizza or a whole box of macaroni and cheese by myself.  When I'm pregnant, I have trouble stopping myself.  But see, no one cares when you're pregnant.  You can go back for seconds...or thirds...and everyone will just say "She's eating for two."  Which by the way, you are not, so don't overdo it.  That's more of my own little mantra than a warning.

3 - Clothes
Can you imagine going through life never having to lie down on the bed to zip your skinny jeans because you ate too much the night before?  Well guess zippers in maternity clothes!  Maternity clothes are stretchy and comfy and awesome!  And now, they're cute too.  Even in the 6 years since I started having kids they've come a long way.  Ann Taylor sells maternity clothes for goodness sakes!

4 - The Belly
To follow up with the maternity clothes thing...what if you never had to worry about your muffin top?  Guess what, when your belly goes out, muffin top kind of disappears...and anyway, it doesn't matter because your middle section is supposed to be big and stick out over your pants.  I have always felt better about my body when I'm pregnant.  Not pregnant, I feel the need to focus on all the negatives.  Criticize every little bump or curve.  But pregnant?  I don't have that problem.

5 - Massages
Clif is not really one for massages, apparently that wasn't covered on the pre-marriage application.  I'll have to fix that for next time.  But, when I'm pregnant, he obviously feels sorry for me so he will rub my shoulders or my ankles or my feet.  I take total advantage...don't tell him.

The Bad...

1 - Hair
So yes, the hair has stopped growing on my legs and I really don't lose much hair from my head, will show up in the strangest of locations.  For example, my belly button.  When I was pregnant with Ainsley, I had to tweeze the longest, thickest single hair out of my belly button.  Seriously?  Are there even hair follicles in there?  Also, the belly gets a nice fuzz on it.  And back to the shaving thing, shaving the bikini line is...the hardest effing thing ever.  If you've got this big, solid mass hanging over your lower half, you can't see what you're doing down there.  I just have to wing it.  I usually step out of the shower looking fairly uneven and patchy.

2 - Feet
Depending on how early you show, just pretty much forget about doing anything with your feet.  Putting on shoes can be problematic.  Especially boots.  Or anything that ties.  I recommend slip-ons and ballet flats.  Painting your toenails, fairly impossible.  Currently when I do it, I have to hold my breath to bend over that far.  Washing your feet...kind of dangerous.  First balance is not so great, so standing on one foot can be hazardous to your health.  Second, getting your foot that high with a big bulge in your belly?  Not possible.  You get creative.

3 - Heartburn
I know lots of women get heartburn, but seriously - pregnancy heartburn is WICKED!!!  I've had varying degrees of heartburn with each of my pregnancies.  With Ainsley it was manageable with Tums.  With Freddie, I took a prescription medication for it and threw up multiple times just because I laid down and felt the acid shooting up my esophagus.  This time it's kind of in between.  Tums don't always do the trick, but it's not bad enough to take medication.  Only once have I run to the bathroom seconds after lying down thinking I was going to throw up.  I didn't.  I've also been trying to use more natural remedies...because it's apparently impossible for me to avoid tomato based foods which seems to be my biggest trigger.  So I drink a coconut water or take a shot of raw apple cider vinegar.  By the way, I love, beyond love.  If it has vinegar, I'm eating it.  But a shot of raw apple cider vinegar?  Holy's horrible.  I get the spitty mouth just thinking about it.  It's so bad.  I never have heartburn when I'm not pregnant so I feel really sorry for people who have acid reflex on the regular.

4 - Energy Level
You know how they say the second trimester is all rainbows and unicorns?  How you'll have all this energy and you'll just be floating through life?  That's total bullshit.  I mean, yes.  After feeling like dog poo for 13 to 16 weeks, it sure is nice to not want to vomit every moment of every day.  It's also really nice to not fall asleep during your Monday morning staff meeting.  But in comparison to your regular life,, there is no energy reserve.  Every ounce of energy you have is being sucked up by your growing fetus.  If I go upstairs, I have to lie down for a few minutes before doing whatever it was I was going up there to do.  And while lying down I have to do things like tap my cheek or wiggle my legs so I don't fall asleep.  I have to rest while sitting down and folding laundry.  I can not keep up with my children.  I have to hope and pray they don't run into traffic when we're leaving a store or daycare or where ever.  I couldn't catch them if I tried.  And kind of related is the speed and velocity at which your physical stamina just plummets.  In October, when I was 6 or 7 weeks pregnant I ran a half marathon.  13 miles.  I have been running ever since, with a slight break during the "want to vomit every moment of every day" period.  Now, I can't even run 2.  I'm lucky if I can make it 30 minutes without stopping.  And if I run at all, it's at a snails pace.  I've never been fast, but I was running a solid 9:45 to 10:15 minute mile.  Now?  I'm happy if I can make it a mile in 13 minutes.

5 - Sleeping
Sleeping is like work during pregnancy.  Personally, I have a lot of sleep issues when I'm pregnant.  There's the reflux I sometimes get.  Then there's also the swollen nasal passages, which causes me to feel stuffed up the moment I lie down.  Nothing really helps.  I run a humidifier, I prop myself up, I wear breath rite strips with menthol, I'll take a Benadryl.  I think it would be worse if I didn't do those things, but nothing helps it completely.  Also, my hands fall asleep.  If I put any pressure on them at all I wake up with no feeling at all in my hands.  You can't sleep on your back...well some people can, and I could during my pregnancy with Ainsley, but can't now.  Oh and then there are the leg cramps.  Most nights I have to hobble out of bed and do some stretches just to get comfortable again.  And the peeing at all hours of the night.  So really, I'm up every hour or so with something.  If I sleep for 5 solid hours I'm ecstatic!  I mean, crazy happy.

6 - Stress
I'm a worrier.  I think most people are to some degree when it comes to something they care about.  So you know how you get this little idea in your head and it grows and grows until you can't control it anymore and it takes over all logical thought?  For instance, your husband's late getting home and suddenly your imagining him dead in a gutter?  Or your kids have been quiet so you're sure a terrorist has broken in and kidnapped them.  Yeah, that's what I'm talking about.  So what do you do?  You call your husband.  You go check on your kids.  Yeah, you have those same crazy worried stressed out moments about your unborn child, but no real way to check on things.  You can feel him move, but I personally can never make the baby move.  You can call your doctor, but you'd be calling every day.  So you just try and push those feeling down and move on with your day, but I really don't know anyone who doesn't have them.

So there you have it.  You'll have to decide for yourself if the whole pregnancy thing is worth the baby you get in the end.  Honestly, I like being pregnant.  There are hard parts, but I do like it.  It makes me sad thinking that this could be the last time...we'll see.
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