Monthly Archives: August 2008

The DNC: My Hopes and Worries.

After a week of democratic fervor, froth and frenzy; a week of endless pundit chatter, extraordinary speeches and historic nominations; and a week of way WAY too many cogs in my head spinning, churning and smoking away, I am left slightly short of breath. And as excited and energized as I feel after the DNC – honestly – I am left stressed out. For real. I am sitting here muttering and wringing my hands like a crazy woman.

What’s my problem?

Oh, Lordy. Well, I have just so much invested in this election. I have never wanted a candidate elected more in my entire life. There is so very much at stake and it’s freaking me out to care this much. And I know I am not the only one.

So what is my list of worries? Read along and see if yours are anything like mine. Here we go.

I am worried about the future of our supreme court justices.

I am worried about the future of this war and the lives of our military serving.

I am worried about my rights to choose.

I am worried about assuring equal rights for everyone.

I am worried discrimination of any kind has been acceptable for far too long.

I am worried about equal pay for equal work.

I am worried about our addiction to excess and stuff.

I am worried about how much less my house is worth.

I am worried about my outrageously expensive grocery bill.

I am worried about chocolate and tequila production prices going up yet again. (Didn’t you hear? Hershey’s chocolate costs were going up 11%! Damn this economy!)

I am worried that the average American family can’t afford to have one parent home with their children any longer.

I am worried Hillary supporters are going to dig in further and refuse to vote.

I am worried voters will choose their candidate based on race or gender ALONE.

I am worried Americans don’t look at themselves carefully enough.

I am worried we think more about ourselves and our own needs, than the needs of our society as a whole.

I am worried we are lazy and we won’t change old habits, focus on our environment, and break our addiction to oil.

I am worried Bush has permanently damaged our country.

I am worried this country has been dumbed down and can’t think outside the box.

I am worried we succumb too easily to fear mongering.

I am worried we have been at war for over 5 years and we are no safer from terrorism.

I am worried that Republicans and Democrats alike underestimate and make unfair assumptions about one another.

I am worried we really aren’t ready for change.

I am worried that no news is unbiased news and so I never know what  the real news is.

I am worried my sons might be drafted into war someday.

I am worried the rest of the world hates our country more than it did before September 11th.

I am worried about my horrid health care plan: if one of us were to become seriously ill, we would be in extraordinary debt.

I am worried about affording college in 15 years.

I am worried about trying to get some paid work within the next year.

I am worried about tax cuts and how they have already affected our local school system, public universities, our local infrastructure, my local library and other public systems set up to assist us.

I am worried that the rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer.

I am worried about hate.

But I can’t forget Obama’s speech last night. I do believe their is some hope ahead *if* he is elected. And I’ve said this before, I know that even if he IS elected, he has one hell of a mess to untangle. But, there is hope. I will leave you with this last potion of his speech. (Please read his entire speech here.) I hope you find some hope in it as well.

America, we cannot turn back.  Not with so much work to be done.  Not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for.  Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save.  Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend.  America, we cannot turn back.  We cannot walk alone.  At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future.  Let us keep that promise – that American promise – and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.

Have a wonderful weekend, I am going to do my damnedest not too think so flipping hard and maybe even have a good stiff drink. (Probably not tequila, though… damn…)

(Oh and please note. Comments that might disagree with my politics or points of view are absolutely welcome. It’s cool. I love open, respectful discussion. It makes the world go round. However, if your comment is rude, it’s getting deleted. Enough said.)


Filed under DNC, Equal Rights, Family, Feminist tendancies, Gas, Getting green, Government, Inspiring people, Money, Obama, Politics, Reality check, Recycling, Renewable energy, Uncategorized, Unnecessary stuff

Wacky Hat Wednesday.

I’m really tired. I was up late watching Hillary of the Orange Pantsuit wow the world. And then my brain got overwhelmed by all the post game analysis so I got caught up in a Making The Band episode on MTV. Yup, those brain cells of mine were firing away until the wee hours. (Smacking forehead now.)

So, you never know what a little sleep deprivation might inspire. Oh wait. No sleep, a crazy two year old with an afinity for dress-up and a collection of hats? Well – heck yeah – that spells humor to me. So join me and celebrate Wacky Hat Wednesday.

Do you have any crazy kid hat pictures? Share. I want to see them. I think hats are kind of funny today.

(Oh and yes, that’s an empty Yingling box. …What? There are some beers left. Three I think. Want one? It’s beer o’clock somewhere. …Ugh, yeah, actually – I just really wish I drank coffee.)

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Filed under Boys, Photographs, Silliness, Smilebox

The DNC: Doing my Small Part from Home.

All of the books I am reading are shelved. For now. Favorite TV shows – yup, even Project Runway – will be caught up with later. Craft projects, scrap booking, digital picture editing – um, another time. Shoot, even the dishes are being done on an “as needed” basis. (Did someone just yell out “Whats new?”, I heard that…) The kids ARE being cared for, but phrases such as “in a minute honey” and “why don’t you go play with your brother” are being muttered a little more often than usual.

What could possibly have my attention to this degree?

The Democratic National Convention. Of course. I can’t seem to get enough of it. Truly. In fact, excuse this fumbling post, lots of thoughts and lots of distraction. The DNC, of course, is on while I write this. (Oh look, Wyclef Jean is on MSNBC, cool.) Seriously, though. This election is so damn important. This country needs Obama as president so very badly. And the DNC has brought together every democratic bigwig superstar you could imagine. If there was a time when this campaign was going to rock out bigger and badder than ever before, it would be now. It should be now.

Because I am wringing my hands here a bit. There is all kinds of chatter about democratic divisiveness, Clinton followers not able to jump onto the Obama train, and the race between McCain and Obama being a lot closer than it should be. I need to see this fixed and am hoping it could happen at this convention.

And then the speeches. Ted Kennedy last night – wow. He. Blew. Me. Away. Brain tumor, shmain tumor, he was on task, he said what he had to say loud and clear. Kennedy is a man speaking about his issues with passion and determination; it is also apparent he is a man living on borrowed time. It seemed nothing would have kept him from speaking last night at the DNC. Nothing.

And then Michelle. This is what I said in a comment over at BlogHer:

I have been frustrated by how careful the campaign has been with Michelle and the “unpatriotic” rep she seemed to have earned – however unfairly. I just haven’t had a good opportunity to really hear Michelle. Up until now. Watching and listening to her last night was amazing. I finally, FINALLY felt like I got to hear from the real Michelle. Sure her speech was carefully written but – wow – either she’s one hell of an actor or she meant every single word she said. I am thinking the latter. She is so REAL, and so genuine. She has a great deal to contribute and stands up for the sort of committed values I believe in. When she said what she and Obama stood for, I just about stood up and yelled at the TV “ME TOO!!!!” And such an amazing mother too. To allow her daughters to have the mic and just go for it, I loved that. It was very “take us or leave us, this is who we are.” What a wonderful family all around.

One of my favorite quotes from last night was:

And Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you’re going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don’t know them, and even if you don’t agree with them.

Thats when I almost jumped up and yelled “ME TOO!!!!” And then here:

That’s why he’s running – to end the war in Iraq responsibly, to build an economy that lifts every family, to make health care available for every American, and to make sure every child in this nation gets a world class education all the way from preschool to college. That’s what Barack Obama will do as President of the United States of America.

He’ll achieve these goals the same way he always has – by bringing us together and reminding us how much we share and how alike we really are. You see, Barack doesn’t care where you’re from, or what your background is, or what party – if any – you belong to. That’s not how he sees the world. He knows that thread that connects us – our belief in America’s promise, our commitment to our children’s future – is strong enough to hold us together as one nation even when we disagree.

(Her entire speech can be found here.)

Goose bumps I tell you. And to think that we could have a president with these values, well, I am holding on to my heart and keeping my eyes glued to the TV.

But I am just here. Just a mom, just doing my thing, affecting very little during this extraordinary time in our country. I am wringing my hands and muttering, but continuing to do the stuff of moms: carting my son home from school, grocery shopping, cooking dinner, cleaning mis-aimed little boy pee off the toilet seat (and floor, and tub), searching the house for the toy hammer (seriously, if anyone has seen that hammer, please please please tell me where it is. I hear the chant “whehw hammew, hammew, hammew, hammew” endlessly. ENDLESSLY I tell you).

So how can I play any sort of active role in the DNC? Or even feel like my voice is standing for anything at all? While I continue to do just this regular ol’ stuff, the stuff of moms?

Well, God bless cable news and the internet. And twitter. And the MOMocrats. This is how I have tried to take a more active part in this DNC:

  • I watch the news, C-Span, CNN, MSNBC. Not Fox, really, but maybe I should?
  • (Permission to state the obvious but) I am online and reading: News sites, blogs, newspapers.
  • I am specifically reading the DNC blog.
  • I write. Blog. Email. Twitter.
  • I talk to the TV. I like to pretend that Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow and I are deep in conversation together. They think I’m brilliant, they do. I invited them over for martinis after the DNC but they haven’t responded quite yet.
  • I follow MOMocrats at their website and on twitter. Their team of amazing democratic blogging moms are at the DNC interviewing, watching, blogging and twittering (#dnc08, #momocrats) live. They even got stuck in the middle of a protest last night. I can’t stop reading; they have made this DNC real to me. They have made me feel like there are women just like methere to say what I want to say. Thank you MOMocrats.
  • Tonight, I am going to watch Hillary’s speech while I follow PunditMom (another MOMocrat) and other bloggers “live-blog” over at BlogHer.
  • Over at Viva La Feminista, I found this amazing website: This Is What Women Want. Say your piece.

And if you are a reader but not a democrat, I hope that when the RNC begins next week, you will follow along and try to connect with your party in an active way also. Get informed and find a venue for your ideas, everyone needs to be heard. Every voice, every person, EVERY VOTE COUNTS.

Peace out, DNC on, Obama 08.


Filed under Bloggers, DNC, Family, Hillary Clinton, Inspiring people, Michelle Obama, Obama, Politics

Getting and Giving a Little More.


Ok, I’ve got some karma up-keeping to do around these parts (and you know how I feel about karma). So, let me take a moment to thank two wonderful bloggers.

First of all, thank you to Domestic Spaz for giving me your “Little Fish” award. I am immensely grateful. My wonderful blogging peers did a little nominating, a little voting and then little ol me wound up swimming to the surface as a little fish. Big blushes and big thank yous. Now to those reading, as a favor to me, please go to her site and nominate your favorite little fish. Let’s take care of the little swimmers in this big blogging ocean.

Secondly, thank you to Everyday Baby Steps for choosing me to receive the “I Heart Your Blog” award. I love blogging, it is truly a passion of mine. And to win an award for it? Acknowledgement that someone is not only reading my posts, but actually liking all this jibber jabber? Well, shoot. It’s enough to keep on keeping on for a long while.

And so, the rules of this award are:
1. The winner can put the logo on his/her blog.
2. Link the person you received your award from.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Put links of those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message on the blogs of the people you’ve nominated

Leaving the list at 7 was very difficult. But I picked out a few of my “always go to” blogs and then some new ones that I have just happened upon recently and really enjoy. Congratulations to my fellow bloggers. I pass the blogger appreciation torch on to you.

Stop, Drop and Blog

She Just Walks Around with It


Slouching Past 40

Viva La Feminista

Pundit Mom

Finally, I would like to encourage further good karma for all us. Please go to the Stand Up 2 Cancer website and learn more about this exciting campaign. Join, email congress and just straight up educate yourself. And guess what else? You can virtually stand up. They have bling for your blog and they are on both Facebook and MySpace. On September 5th, SU2C will be on TV, they have an online magazine (here’s the part about boobies) and there are some cool people behind this initiative. Go. Now. Thanks!



Filed under Uncategorized

Using his words.

My poor two year old. He has so much to say but so few people understand what the hell he is saying. It is as if he is living in a country where he understands the language but, no matter how hard he tries, he can’t speak like the natives. We have taught him some sign language, which has helped a lot. But his thoughts are more complicated than the few limited hand gestures he knows. He wants to talk like a big boy. And he is trying his damnedest too. He comes at us with his big open cherub face, blue eyes gleaming “woog ah mee da!” (translation: “Look at me, Dad”) My sweet boy, he’s trying so hard.

Every afternoon, I pack C. into the car and we drive a half hour over to T.’s school to pick him up from kindergarten. They are still “tweaking” the car pick up line (apparently) and the wait tests both of our patience. This afternoon, 15 minutes ahead of school dismissal time, we pulled up to the endless double row of cars, found our spot in line and I turned off the engine. It’s Florida, in August. The sun is hot. The parking lot’s tarmac is just as hot. I rolled our windows down for some breeze and texted my husband. It was then I heard a little peep from the back.

“I wan doy.”

“Um hmmm, one sec.” texttexttexttexttext…

“I wan doy.”

I turn around. “What do you want, hon?”

“I wan doy!”

“Toy? Which toy?” And I scan the crap on the floor of the car from something special that caught his eye.

‘No. DOY!”

“Not toy??? How about a book?”

(Sharp yell of frustration.) “DOOOOY!”

“I don’t understand honey. How about some milk?”

“AHHHHHMMMMAAAAAHHHHHHAAAHHH (high high, VERY high pitched squeal ensues.) DOOOOOYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

He’s purple now, mad. Straining against his car seat straps. Pointing at something in the center console.

“Well, honey” (and I can’t believe I said this) “You need to use words. Screaming is not going to get your way.” And with that, I turned back around and dialed the school’s office. T. would be late to school the next day due to a dentist appointment and I wanted to be sure they knew. Better not to give this tantrum any reinforcement, right?

Well. Stand back. A full throttle, kiss my grits and call me Sally, 2 year old, practically epileptic FIT wound into high gear in the backseat of my car. He thrashed, screamed, squealed, “DOOOOY!!!!! DOOOYYYYYYY!!!!! DOOOOAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!” He was frothing at the mouth, the car was rocking ever so gently, he was pointing at my console and kicking the utter crap out of the seat in front of him. Meanwhile…

“Yes, This is Caroline, T.’s mother. (“BAAAAAHHHHAAA DDOOOOOOOOOHHHHYYY!!!!!”) I would just like to (WAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH) let you all know (WAAAAAAAAAAAAH) that T. will (MAAAAAAAHHHH DDAAAAAHHHH) be late tomorrow due to (EEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAHHHHHHDDDAAAAHHHH) a dentist appointment. (EEEEEEEEEEEEE…. – can’t hear it any longer but I swear dogs are barking in the distance at this point.)

Eventually, I start the car, I am sweating like a mad woman and crank the A/C. We inch up. The tantrum doesn’t slow one teensy bit.

“Oh hon. WHAT?!!!! WHAT! IS! IT!” (EEEEEEEEEEEE) Seriously, I was going to loose my mind. What. The. Hell.


And as I was moving along the car line, slowly but surely, annoyed mothers all around me, I glanced down at the center console. There sits a dime.

“C. Do you mean a… coin?” And I hold up the dime.



And a smile explodes across his face – seriously, its one like you’ve never seen. Utter, pure, joy, relief, even ecstasy. A Doy. A COIN. Cripes.

So, while he chants “DOY! DOY! DOY! DOY!” from the backseat, I hand over the dime. And he could not be happier. Just like that, all was solved. He talks to the coin, he has a full blown conversation with it. Don’t you dare tell me it’s a choke-able either.  (I’ll show you a %$&#@! choke-able…) And grateful, relieved for the peace at last, I pay him off with a variety of coins from that center console. I hear “Dis lillwwwew doy” (translation: “This is a little coin.”) and “Dis BEEEG (gruff voice) doy!” (translation: “This is a BIG coin.”)

Doy. You gotta be kidding me. My poor baby IS using his words, I just need to figure out how to hear them.


Filed under Children, Communication, Educating myself, Guilt and motherhood, Language, Talking, Teaching kids

Holding on to my Breasts.

This week, Christina Applegate shared with the public that she has undergone a prophylactic double mastectomy. A month ago, she confirmed that she did have breast cancer and also tested positive for the BRCA1 gene mutation, which means she may have as high as an 85% chance of developing breast cancer and a 55% chance of developing ovarian cancer. Yikes. So Christina chose to have both breasts removed to assure her recovery from breast cancer; she is also beginning the long and painful process of breast reconstruction. (An excellent and informative article about Christina’s process of a double mastectomy and reconstruction can be found here. Please read!)

I have to say, reading about her choice has had me sitting and thinking.

(Sidebar: What is it about hearing “real life” stories from a celebrity that makes something like breast cancer more real? I am kind of annoyed at myself for that but, regardless, she got me thinking about my boobs again.)

You all know I have a special little closet in the back of my mind where I store all of my breast cancer stress. So, Christina and her recent news have led me back to my little closet to nervously peer inside there once again.

Hi boobs of mine! How ya doing? Ok. So. Any lumps today? (Quick self exam… no lumps… oh HI, the neighborhood crazy guy is walking by. Yes and I’m in front of the window. Hello, I am feeling myself, now go back to being crazy…) So yeah, breasts of mine, whats going to happen to you? Do you have anything you want to tell me? Any gene mutations you might want to share with me? Yes? No? Do I need to go in there and check for myself?

Now as I have mentioned before, while I have had stacks of breast cancer in my family, it has all occurred post menopausal. And, my understanding is that none of my relatives have tested positive for this gene mutation. But. There is always a but. Does that mean I shouldn’t get myself tested for it? My doctor gave me a little pamphlet about it at my last GYN exam. It’s certainly not an impossibility. Again, we have stacks of breast cancer in my family. Something is up. And even assuming the best case scenario with negative test results, that doesn’t mean I won’t get breast cancer eventually anyway.

In fact, I even happened to check out a little Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool found at the website. And here’s what they told me:

5 Year risk

  • This woman (age 35) 0.6%
  • Average woman (age 35): 0.3%


Based on the information provided (see below), the woman’s estimated risk for developing invasive breast cancer over the next 5 years is 0.6% compared to a risk of 0.3% for a woman of the same age and race/ethnicity from the general U.S. population. This calculation also means that the woman’s risk of NOT getting breast cancer over the next 5 years is 99.4%.

Lifetime Risk

  • This woman (to age 90): 19.7%
  • Average woman (to age 90): 12.6%


Based on the information provided (see below), the woman’s estimated risk for developing invasive breast cancer over her lifetime (to age 90) is 19.7% compared to a risk of 12.6% for a woman of the same age and race/ethnicity from the general U.S. population.

Not horrible results. Just a 7% chance more than the average woman. But they only asked for first-degree relatives, so they only noted my mother. They didn’t take into account my aunt (two lumpectomies), my grandmother (one mastectomy and one lumpectomy), or my grandfather’s sister who died from breast cancer. I’m just saying. It’s a small, very general internet tool. I should hardly be lulled into a comfy “only 7% increased chance” sense of security.

When friends hear about my breast cancer history, they sit right up and start fretting. And often they do ask me “Would you ever consider a double mastectomy? If it could possibly save your life, if it could mean you wouldn’t have to face even post menopausal breast cancer, why wouldn’t you consider it? Don’t you want to be around for your family?”

(Hmmm, I wonder if this is actually my conscious talking. I’m suspicious. It sure sounds a LOT like her.)

But, ok. Chop my boobs off? I mean, c’mon. Wow. Yikes. Owch. I just. I mean. …I don’t *WANT* to! (Insert “whine” here.)

My breasts, while hardly heaving masses of flesh attracting eyes for miles around, have been really good to me. They fit my frame, they have never been in the way (now THAT’S a “glass is half full” way to look at my size B size A cups), and they are kinda cute. Well, they were at least before I breastfed my kids. But, THAT is their greatest feat yet. My girls, petite as they are, managed to nourish my two wonderful boys for 14 months each. They gave me an awesome supply and they withstood the abuse they endured from freakishly hungry babies. I feel some solidarity for all that we have been through.

Granted, they could just turn around and stab me in the back someday with a sudden small possibly metastasizing lump. Shoot. They could just up and kill me.


So, Christina Applegate has got me thinking about them. And chopping them off. I’m certainly not ready for something so dire and don’t have any current reason to consider it yet. (Like a tree falling in the woods, if you don’t test for a gene, is it still there?)  I suppose I will hold on to them for now. Keep doing my breast checks, getting mammograms and hassling my doctor.

I may even do that gene test after all. I want to know.

And if a double mastectomy were ever something I should seriously consider, I would absolutely weigh the options. So, friends and conscious of mine, I would do it if I had to. 

As long as I could get the perfect size B cups size C cups (which would still fit my frame. Sure. Absolutely. And I bet my husband would agree wholeheartedly).

(Another Sidebar: Reconstructive surgery is not the instant fix for a mastectomy that you might think it is. It can take over a year or more of painful surgery to bring your breasts back to fighting form. In the article I referenced above and noted here, Dr. Avisar is even quoted as saying about reconstructive surgery: “The majority of patients … don’t go the whole 9 yards. …Many of them never come back to have the nipple and areola reconstructed. They are just tired and they have had enough.” Reconstructing two breasts after a mastectomy is not, by any means, your typical boob job.)

Finally, I just want to give a shout out to all of the bloggers out there supporting efforts to prevent breast cancer. I am a bit late to the party here but I would like to spread some breast cancer linky love.

First of all, if you ever want to raise money for Breast Cancer awareness, please visit the Susan G. Komen For the Cure website. In case you have been living on the moon and didn’t know, there are annual runs and walks to raise money for the cure.

Also, a fellow blogger at Toddler Planet has done amazing work spreading awareness about her own fight with inflammatory breast cancer (symptoms for this form of breast cancer are not lumps as you would expect). Please read her story here. She also has a wonderful section of her blog dedicated to how to help a friend who has been diagnosed with breast cancer with excellent links and suggestions. Read this information here. She has a group of bloggers – team WhyMommy – supporting her. Bloggers such as Dirt and Noise raced for the cure in her honor.

And what, in my humble opinion, do I think is the best way to spread breast cancer awareness? Well, blogging of course! Here are some great breast cancer blogs that I found through Jayne’s Breast Cancer Blog. (I am sure there are hundreds more out there too):

My Breast Cancer Blog
Mothers with Cancer
A Different Road Altogether
Biography of Breast Cancer
Can I be Pretty in Pink?
Gotta Keep on Keepin’ On
Reconstruct This
So, is Today a Good Day?

And I am loving the “Save the Ta-Tas” gear found here too, buy something.

Do you have any other important links to share? Post them.

Keep feeling those boobies, girls. I know I am regularly feeling mine. And holding on to mine – for dear life.

(Note: The image above was taken from The Breast Cancer Fund website.)


Filed under Bloggers, Breast cancer, Deep thoughts, Health, Raising Awareness, Relatives

It’s Fay Day.

School is canceled. Water, batteries, and canned food have been bought. The porch is cleaned off. The plants are pulled into the garage. The windows and stucco cracks have been caulked just to be sure. We’re all inside (all but my husband who has run into the office and promises to be back before things start getting interesting). So here we sit. Waiting. It’s FAY DAY.

Um, I think I just saw the sun. What the heck? I thought the rain bands were only miles away, just minutes from barreling down on us?

Well, we are prepared anyway. As any smart Floridian SHOULD be.

And so we have a day inside, watching rain. So what will we do? I have started to gather all our toys and inside stuff together. Games, movies, and craft projects for the kids. My laptop, cameras and books for my husband and I. The storm tracker is up on my laptop so we know when the next rain band comes. …Or when the first rain band comes.

So. Fay. Any time now. You can do something. Rain, a few impressive gusts, maybe some small branches scuttling down the sidewalk.

Um, and so how will this storm be any different from a regular afternoon Florida thunder-boomer? Well, because THIS storm has a name. Uh-huh. And THIS storm has gotten 24 hour news coverage. And live doppler tracking by the STORM TEAM (cue lightening, thunder, sweep-in logo affect). And planes have flown into it. And rain slickered newscasters are currently positioning themselves in the gustiest parts of its rain bands for a cool shot. A State of Emergency has been called, for cripes sakes. School is out  and government buildings are closed. The Governor has been making live announcements from a storm bunker with his sleeves rolled up and a concerned look is plastered on his face. It’s on like Donkey Kong.

So. Here we sit. We’ve prepped, we’re ready, we can handle anything.

There’s the sun again. Oh and is my neighbor going by on a walk? A walk sounds like a good idea. Maybe I could get the kids in the wagon, it’s certainly not too hot out or anything.

Wait a sec, Snap out of it! Fay is coming! FAY IS COMING!

Uh oh. 5 year old T. just asked me what we were doing to start the day. Can we go to a friend’s house? Can we go to the playground?

No, lets watch the storm, kid. Its got a name!

Oh. Right. Its Fay Day.

(Sidebar: I am of course grateful for all of the technology which does tell us when a storm is coming. And if Fay is going to be a glorified rain storm, then – cool, no complaints. We’ll count our lucky stars and give some thanks. I am just saying this out loud, ok? In case Murphy’s kicks in his law and a tree comes down on our house later this afternoon, just hours after I publish my smug little post… So if this just brings a little rain? We are SO cool with that. Ok? Ok, Murphy?)


Filed under Florida, Hurricanes

A Puddle of Fun for the Weekend.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I need some fun around here. At the BlogHer conference, I was given a subscription to Smilebox. I had already been using the free version of Smilebox before but then, to have been given the upgrade, well I was loving the swag life for sure. Now, they haven’t paid me one single dime to endorse their product but I gotta say, I have a ton of fun with it. You can add video too. There are a ton of designs to choose from. They make THE best personalized e-cards. You can send them, blog them, whatever.

So for some fun this morning, I put together a series of pics for you all to enjoy. These were taken last February but they are some of my very favorites. This is my oldest, T., being the wonderful boy that he is.

Have a good weekend!

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Filed under Boys, Stuff I have

Searching for a Liberal Jesus.

Vivian, of Liberal Life for the Navy Wife, posted on Momocrats a couple days ago. The subject? Christianity and Liberalism. A good conversation took place in the comments following and I briefly jumped in there myself to talk a bit about my issues (Sigh, why do I always make it about me? I’ll save that for another soul searching post). She so graciously replied and was very helpful – thanks again Vivian! But her post has lead to further discussions with my husband, deep thoughts in the shower and considerable mumbling to myself that now must spill out onto this blog. So, once again folks, here’s a little window into my current state of thinking.

Religion is an extremely personal issue. And because it is something based on faith- logic or rational thinking don’t always apply. I wouldn’t know where to begin to comment about the influence it’s had on the history of humankind, the making and breaking of nations or how it has inspired both violent wars and beautful acts of humanity. To say that it plays a part in modern day politics is an understatement to say the least.

Meanwhile, little ol’ me, landed on this planet 35 years ago. I was raised Protestant, attended a Catholic elementary and middle school and had the opportunity to live in two seperate Muslim countries for 5 of my developmental years. I love the Christian traditions of Christmas and Easter, I appreciate the beauty and ritual of Catholic mass and I find comfort when I hear the Muslim call to prayer.

Little ol’ me also seemed born to be a democrat, wearing a Mondale pin in 6th grade at Catholic school; my republican father was at a loss.

I consider myself both a spiritual person and a political person. I believe in God and have a fairly liberal value system. I totally think Jesus was a cool guy – the original hippie – bringing love, acceptance and really impressive miracles to anyone ready to listen. But Buddha seemed like an amazing guy too, and Mohammad. And so, in my own little way, I do unto others, try not to covet and love my neighbor, rich, poor, gay, Yankee fan, Red Sox fan (go sox), whatevs.

But here’s the problem for me. As a spiritual person, I think I should be able to find a place to worship God in my own right. And even more importantly, as my husband and I watch our children grow up,  we want our two little boys to grasp the concept of religion, hear the stories of the bible and have a solid understanding about morality. But as an open-minded, liberal, Obama voting, (technically) Christian woman living in Florida, I can’t find a church to worship in to save my life (so to speak).

There are plenty of Catholic churches – tried and true, with unchanged traditions carried on for generations. But not for me.

There are endless protestant based churches, teaching the bible as literal truth with members eager to save my soul. Not for me.

And here’s the thing. If a liberal minded mommy like me were to drive into the parking lot of the majority of churches in these parts with my Obama, HRC and peace stickers trailing behind me on the bumper of my car… would I be tagged as a lost soul? A heathen?

Oh man. But, how come? Because I am pro-choice? Is it because I think Obama is the man? Am I going to hell because I think there should be women priests and homosexual couples should be allowed to marry? I just get this feeling, this little inkling, that I wouldn’t quite fit in. And I am quite sure I wouldn’t want to.

Please understand, I respect any person’s choice to worship as they may. Go for it, enjoy God the best way you see fit. I just bristle when my liberal values translate to others that I am NOT fit to worship and that God has no place in my life. There seems to be a lot of judging going on in church, and its not happening from the Man (or Woman) upstairs either.

Because here’s the thing, I have never felt more in tune with God in my life. I find true comfort in my beliefs that ALL people are equal. I feel right at home when a community is inclusive of all ideals and lifestyles. I think it makes a lot of sense to God that we pray for a peaceful end to this war. Having “green” values is a way to honor our planet. Come on now, I have a right to God as much as anyone else does. 

So why am I having a problem finding a church? I honestly think politics has taken the organized Christian churches away from a lot of families like ours. Right or wrong, Christians have been recently deemed as right-winged, republican, conservative folk. Nothing like me at all. When people say “Jesus Saves”, I have to wonder if there is an asterisks by it saying “as LONG as you follow OUR very specific, kind of exclusive rules”.  C’mon, I am pretty sure Jesus is cool with everyone, I mean EVERYONE. Even me.

So here my family sits, homeless and in need of a place to worship. I am tired of not knowing how to explain religion to my children. I fumble around with the birth story of Jesus at Christmas time. I don’t even GO there with his death around Easter – I just keep it to bunnies and purdy eggs. We don’t even have a bible in our home. I mean, this is rediculous! If we want to be liberal Christians, why can’t we?

Now I know, if I search hard and long, I will find something. Vivian even told me about Unity Churches and, wouldn’t you know it, there is one not far from here! I am tentatively looking into it. Unitarian churches are other good options, but there aren’t many around here. My good friend who recently moved back east, used to attend Glide Church in San Francisco and found an extraordinary community there. I told her to send a mission to Florida.

This topic has been a tough one for me. Like I said, Religion is so damn personal. I worry about offending. I worry about making generalizations. I worry about judging others unfairly while I have no right to. I worry I don’t know a damn thing about this topic and should really educate myself more. I worry I have accepted the assumption that Christianity is only for the conservative – and have given up too easily. I worry that even if I found a place for our family, we couldn’t give enough time to it anyway.

But, in this discussion, I am giving it my best shot. I am just little ol’ me, wanting to stay true to my own value system, searching for a community with like minded folk and hopefully, someday, offering my children the gift of spirituality.  Yup, little ol’me, merely trying to get my head around what exactly that cool, peace loving, open-minded guy named Jesus would do.


Filed under Deep thoughts, Educating myself, Family, Florida, Obama, Parenting, Politics, Religion, Self-analysis, Spirituality, Teaching kids

Coming to Terms with the Daughter I Never Had.

No more babies. At least, that’s what my husband and I have decided. It just makes sense. We aren’t young whipper snappers any longer, we both just celebrated our 35th birthdays this summer. We already have two wonderful boys that fill our lives plenty enough, thank you very much. B. and I are finally starting to dream about days without car seats, diapers, naps, and temper tantrums. Days filled with family trips and our two independent boys – and even maybe more time for just him and I. Plus babies cost money, a LOT of money. Another baby means a bigger house, a bigger car, three against two, and no booths at the restaurants. It’s still fairly realistic and affordable to travel with just two children. They can fit in the back of even compact cars (at least, for the next few years). There is no odd man out; they are each other’s best friend. And call me selfish but I’m feeling ready to do more than change diapers and push kids in strollers. Not to mention the fact that I’m too vain to get pregnant yet again (there would be no hope for the pooch then, let me tell you). Seriously, we’re good at a family of four. And how lucky we are.

But every once in awhile, I hear a small voice inside making a little racket. And as we come up to September – 6 years since I conceived my first born and 3 years since I conceived my second – I can’t help but think that THIS would be the time if we were to try for a third. Because you know what that little voice inside my head keeps whispering?

“You never had a daughter.”

I always wanted a daughter. Like so many women (women like me who are only 10 year old girls playing dress up in 35 year old clothing), I think back to the days when I planned for my daughter. I kept diaries and swore that my daughter would be able to understand that what she was feeling was what her mother went through too. I used to brush the hair of my dolls and imagine having a daughter’s hair to brush. I always loved ponytails, with the little bobble elastics, one on each side of her head, hair swinging to and fro.

I know. This sounds ridiculous. It really does. Because here’s the thing. What IS my longing for a daughter really about? Is it for giving T. and C. the little sister they always wanted? Hardly. Is it because we need more women in this world? Eh, women are cool, but that’s not why.

Having a daughter is ALL about me.

When I was first planning for a family, I wanted a little girl that I could dress up in white tights with the frills in the back over the diapers. I wanted a little girl with cute bows in her hair and fluffy dresses. I wanted a little girl so I could re-familiarize myself with the Barbie section of Toys R Us again. I wanted a little girl to go to chick flicks with. To shop with. To talk about boys and read diaries and get pedicures.

Isn’t this outrageous? But I’m on a roll, I can’t stop now.

I wanted a little girl to show my scrapbooks to because I KNOW she would care. I wanted a little girl to gab about first boyfriends and share Nancy Drew books with. I wanted a little girl so I could show her my wedding gown and maybe hope she’d even like it or maybe even (dare to dream) wear it someday. I wanted a little girl to pass on the cool hand-made Thai dresses of my mother’s, that I wore and she could wear. I wanted a little girl to explain that O.B. tampons work soooo much better than Tampax, and then be able to get her a hot cup of tea when she had cramps. I wanted a little girl who might discover the wonder and excitement of the same women’s college I went to. I wanted a little girl to call me first when she got engaged and then keep me by her side for support as she planned her wedding. I wanted a little girl that I could help with through a pregnancy and be there when she was pushing because she HAD to have me there, I would have been her best friend!

I wanted a little girl so I could see myself come back around again.

I wanted a little girl because I was selfish.

So there you have it.

And are those good enough reasons to play with the odds, try for another baby and hope for a girl? Um… you’ve got to be kidding me, a resounding: NO!

Because all of that falala and frippery I’ve listed above is NOT what parenting is about. Its what *I* wanted in a parent-child relationship. But even if I had had a girl, whose to say she would have given a rat’s ass about Barbies? And whose to say my sons won’t adore and appreciate my scrapbooks after all?

Parents so often push their dreams and hopes onto their children. Our children should do what we did. They should do it better. And then they shouldn’t do what we did at all, why haven’t they learned from our mistakes?

My sons have taught me to look for so much more in parenting. While I have a brother and I was well versed in such boy obsessions as Star Wars, fishing, and Lego’s growing up – having two sons has offered me a clean slate of sorts. I’m not a boy. I had no expectations for how mother-son relationship would go. I never pretended my dolls were boys and I honestly didn’t spend hours dressing my dolls in basic Ts and khaki shorts. Having a boy was nothing I expected and everything I should have ever hoped for.

And so, now as a parent of two boys, I have learned what parenting is really about. Not outfits, toys and lecturing to them about what I did as a child. But its rather about sleeping upright in bed with your feverish baby, its about catching your son as he leaps into the pool, its about hearing him love to read, its about the same turkey sandwich everyday and demands of “snuggews (snuggles) on the couwk(couch)”. And love, this endless reserve of  it; no matter what their choices, I’ve got their back. Heck, one of them could decide he DOES want to wear those cute stockings with the ruffles after all. Knock yourself out, kid. Whatever you want to do.

But I would publicly like to warn my sons now. Someday, a long long time from now in a galaxy far far away, if they do chose to marry and do chose to have a family and if one of those grandchildren of mine is a girl… oh, heads up. The scrapbooks, the diaries, and those hand-made Thai dresses will be resurrected out of moth balls and thrust upon that sweet little girl. The poor thing. Just you wait and see.


Filed under Children, daughters, Family, Growing up, Parenting, Reality check, Self-analysis, sons, Teaching kids