Sunday, November 30, 2008

Family Ties

So many pictures to share from the weekend so far!! We spent Thursday in Cincinnati with my family. We spent Friday morning at The Children's Museum. It was a special event day- we got there at 8 for face painting and to explore the Winter Wonderland play space prior to Santa's big arrival and the opening of the big holiday slide. You'll have to wait for the Museum pics... I'm just going to share the Thanksgiving ones now. Which means a lot of "getting to know Liz's family."
My dad... we have a special relationship. But that is a long story that will come on another day!
Teagan playing ping pong with Grandpa.
Zach, enjoying a cracker before lunch.
Jeff's best friend (since 3rd grade), Brian.
Zach loved Mommy's cranberry sauce best of all!
My brothers- Daniel and Ted. Daniel is a sophomore in high school. Ted is a freshman in college (Univ of Dayton).

And a very special picture. My mom. Her sister, Martha. My Grandma. My daughter. Would have been great if Jeff could have gotten a pic with me in it to show all the generations. But I didn't think of it at the time. But here are 3 of our 4 generations!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Curse of the Photographer

I love taking pictures. I take oodles of them. I love capturing as many moments as possible.
But that means that I am mostly behind the camera.
It's not that Jeff won't take pictures. He's more than happy to do so. I just won't relinquish control.
We had Thanksgiving. I never gave up the camera. I set it down a few times. I suppose Jeff could've grabbed it up and snapped away. So I guess I did give him a chance, anyway.
We spent yesterday morning at The Children's Museum. Holiday festivities galore! And one pic of me and Zach. I actually want more pictures of me. Not because I love having my picture taken. But because I want my kids to have as many memories to look at as possible. On the morbid front, if something were to happen to me and I wasn't part of their lives anymore, I would want plenty of pictures for them to look at. It's part of why I sometimes just click pictures of Jeff. He thinks I'm being silly or obnoxious. But I'm really just making sure I have some good preservations of his face, his eyes, his mouth... Because I want to remember every moment.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Winner!!

Entry #4 is the winner- morninglight mama!! Send me an e-mail with your mailing address and I will get the book out to you this week! e-mail me: eternal.lizdom (at) CONGRATULATIONS! (Winner was selected using the random number generator at Math Goodies)
No need for a bunch of words. This face says it all... we had a great holiday!
Don't forget to comment for the Giveaway!!! Contest ends tonight!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Because I'm Grateful For My Readers...

A Giveaway!!! Winter Day Play by Nancy F. Castaldo

Description from Amazon:

Whether the snowfall is light or heavy or the day is just so blustery that indoors seems better than out, there is something for children to enjoy among the more than 70 suggestions in this book. Creative possibilities include building a Japanese snow cottage (kamakura), fashioning a snow sculpture, or painting on snow with food coloring. Basic science projects involve observing and studying snowflakes and tracking and measuring snow prints. "Arctic Adventures" explores Inuit culture. Party ideas range from a teddy-bear sleepover to activities for celebrating the Chinese New Year. Recipes are included as well. A potpourri of simple ideas to fill the long winter days.

The prize: 1 copy of the book

The contest: Leave a comment. Answer this question- "What is your favorite cold weather activity?"

I will use a random number generator to select the winner. Contest is open until Friday, 9:00 p.m. EST. Contest is open to anyone! Feel free to pass along the link to friends! If you post this on your own blog or share it on another website, post a second comment for a second entry!

Good Luck!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A First!

I just made my first ever pecan pies!! They are in the oven and they smell heavenly! Next up... making the double batch of cranberry sauce. Double batch because college-living brother wants some to take back to campus... It's the yummiest and super easy... chopped up cranberries, cranberry jelly stuff, orange marmalade, chopped walnuts... so tangy, so sweet... I'm in charge of appetizers and desserts this year. Dessert is the aforementioned pecan pies and I will make a Pumpkin Cake with Apple Cider Glaze at my mom's house tomorrow. Also doing a Tastefully Simple Key Lime Cheeseball and a Red Raspberry Cheeseball (served with graham crackers). Appetizers... an assortment of cheeses, dips, crackers, veggies. And sweet gherkins. It just seemed right. Back to the kitchen for me!


I just wanted to take a moment to talk about breastfeeding.

It's hard work. It's worthwhile work. It's something I am passionate about.

I nursed my daughter until she was 25 months old. She weaned herself from her single daily feeding (bedtime) towards the end of my first trimester of my pregnancy with Zach. We had a rough start- cracked, bleeding nipples, plugged ducts, lack of confidence. But with the support of my mom and my husband, we fought through and ended up with a great nursing relationship. After a year, we came down with thrush. Again, thanks to my mother, we got through it. I was heartbroken and wracked with guilt when I became pregnant with Zach. I was concerned that I was taking away from Teagan with my pregnancy... but really, she was ready. It was just time. And she never looked back.

Zach started out more "matter of fact" about nursing. Where Teagan could have been at the breast for 24 solid hours, only pausing for a diaper change, Zach was more business like. Get the milk and go back to sleep. Get the milk and see the world. Get the milk. Period. We fought what we thought was thrush his first month. Ended up being a more general fungal infection and once the doc figured that out and changed the type of ointment, I healed quickly. About 3 months or so ago, Zach stopped taking milk during the day. I had been pumping, since I work full time, and he first stopped taking the pumped milk. Soon after, he stopped asking during the day when we were together. He still night nurses, though, so he gets plenty of breastmilk. He is 13 months old and nurses anywhere from 2-6 times each night. Thank heavens Jeff and I both believe in co-sleeping!!

What have I learned?

Do laundry every day if you really want to keep up with it. Or... be like me and let it pile up and wait for your husband or a friend to have pity and help you out.

Do dishes every day if you really want to keep up with it. Or... see above. Another option is to believe in carry out and tossable plates and cutlery for a while.

Latch basics can help at any age and any stage of breastfeeding. Once teeth start coming in, latch has to be re-taught. Unless you like teeth scraping your nipple.

I have something that only I can do for my babies. I can nurture, feed, comfort with a single boob. I'm pretty powerful that way.

Breastfeeding is hard work and brings struggles and challenges. In the process of getting through cracked nipples, fungal infections, thrush, plugged ducts, engorgement, and other potential problems, you learn a lot about yourself, your baby, your spouse, your friends.

At the same time, once you have confidence, breastfeeding is the easiest and fastest thing in the world. Once you overcome the struggles, it is almost surreal how easy it is to pick up baby, whip out your breast, latch them on, and continue on with what you were doing. Or sit and enjoy the quiet, nurturing comfort.

You might amaze yourself with everything you can do with one hand. Sometimes with the help of a sling but often completely on my own, I've cooked, typed, written, called, colored, and even peed while nursing.

There is a lot of support out there- you just have to seek it out, find the best sources, and stick with them.

Between that and your gut, which you have to learn to listen to and trust, breastfeeding will work. My favorite reliable and easy to use resources are:
Dr. Sears
Dr. Jack Newman

And finding other moms who breastfed, who faced struggles, who were committed to breastfeeding... those moms are the ones who can really help you through it. One of my blog readers has known me for a long time- since before my first pregnancy. And she was one my my greatest cheerleaders and advice givers with those early struggles (Lynn from Canada- you know who you are)!! I also participate on some message boards- a global board for pregnancy and motherhood, a local board for moms- and could identify the "crunchy, granola" moms who typically have that strong commitment to breastfeeding and extended breastfeeding.

I am also always happy to offer advice based on what I've learned and from my own experiences. It takes a village, after all.

Sneak Preview

I'm going to join the ranks of many other bloggers and have a GIVEAWAY!! Tune in Thanksgiving Day for details... I'm formulating the plan... I can tell you that the giveaway prize will be something for folks with kids or something you can regift to someone who has kids.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Quick Step Update

1 more day to hit 10 days of 10K! Tues 10,242 steps Weds 11,581 steps Thurs 11,052 steps Fri 10,285 steps Sat 10,065 steps Sun 10,143 steps Mon 12,376 steps Tues 12,540 (so far- heading to bed soon so shouldn't change much) Weds Watch out Weds- I'm walking your way!!

Cooking with Liz: You Name It!

I threw together ingredients for dinner Sunday night and it ended up tasting pretty darn good. I plan to make it again but want a good name for it... Ingredients (I never/rarely measure anything)
  • Ground beef
  • minced garlic (from the jar in the produce section)
  • chopped onion (I cheat and buy the frozen kind- Jeff got me hooked)
  • egg noodles
  • frozen green beans
  • a can of Red Gold petite diced tomatoes mexican fiesta
  • a can of condensed tomato soup (campbell's)
  • sour cream
  • seasoned with: smidgens of chili powder, cumin, garlic & bell pepper, Tastefully Simple's "Si Si Cilantro" dip mix (very little smidgen of this)
I browned the meat with garlic and onion. Drain, rinse. While meat was browning, I cooked the egg noodles (I use the ones in the brown bag, those healthier ones- no clue what the brand is, though). When the noodles were about halfway done, I tossed some frozen green beans into the boiling water. Put the meat back into my huge skillet. Added the tomatoes, the soup, and some sour cream. Added the noodles and green beans. Added the seasonings. Let it simmer a bit. I added shredded cheese, sour cream, and fresh ground pepper to my bowl of it.

So what should we name this dish??

I Hate This Commercial

Saw a commercial on TV this morning that I found irritating, irresponsible, and stupid. It's a Levi's ad. A guy and girl going up steps of an apartment building. Working on undoing clothing as they go. And making confessions... "I'm not really in a rock band." "I don't really work for a label." And so on. And then the guy, as they go into the girl's apartment, clothing coming off, flashes of skin and underwear, confesses that he lives in his car. And the girl confesses that this isn't even her apartment. Lights flash on, quick shot of a family pic on the wall (the crazy, horny, lying kids are white, the family in the picture is black). Lights out and they go at it. WHAT??? And I saw this while watching the NEWS at 6:30 in the morning!! I'm not going to post the actual video here because I don't want it on my blog. But I'll give you a link to it. Love to hear what others think!

Monday, November 24, 2008

100 Posts!

That last post was number 100! Woo hoo!

Preacher Liz Steps To The Pulpit...

My faith and spirituality are important to me. Anyone who has been following along with this blog probably knows that. This past Sunday was a Big Deal. Teagan went to Sunday School for the First. Time. Ever. Understand... my kids don't go to the nursery. I've offered it once or twice but they don't want to be there. They are well behaved enough during church and there is a cry room if I need it. Since I work full time all week, I've never been fond of the idea of having the kids spend that time away from me. The way church works... we come in, sing a bit, meet and greet, announcements, etc. The kids go up for Small Talk (the children's sermon) and then the kids do a mass exodus to Sunday School/My Church/The Nursery. Teagan has always gone up for Small Talk and then right back to our seats. She's never asked to go with the other kids and we've never pushed. Yesterday, before we left the house, she asks if she can go to Sunday School. So we agree to go check it out before church starts. And we do. Get her signed in. Stick on a name tag. Go into church to show her how she will go up for Small Talk and then go with the kids through the side door and how her classroom is right outside that door. Pastor Jennifer sees us and explains that she will be doing Small Talk today. And when Small Talk happens, Pastor Jennifer made a point of saying good morning to Teagan... keeping her connected. And when the mass exodus began, Teagan held my hand and we went with the kids and got halfway to the door when Miss Paulette (Pastor Rusty's wife) asked Teagan if she could take her to class. And Paulette found a friend for Teagan and had them hold hands and go to class together... The kids came in and filed through church later- it was Commitment Sunday and the kids were giving drawings and such as their commitment for the coming year (Rusty had the kids go first... the church is focused on kids being a crucial part of the overall ministry and that the children shall lead us). I was very eagerly watching for Teagan to come in with the kids. I was turned around and on the edge of my seat, peering around to see her. She looked so serious when she came into sight. She was searching the sea of faces for mine and we locked eyes and she smiled and started to run to me. Her Sunday School teacher caught her and had her stay with the kids. Her spirit wasn't dampened at all. She had no clue what she was doing but she kept her eyes on me and a huge grin on her face and went and put her paper on the offering table. Then she came racing for me- no stopping her that time! Came for a big hug and cuddle. A young helper came over to see if Teagan wanted to come back to class with everyone and Teagan very excitedly said "Yeah!" and took off... My big girl. It's odd to see your child with other kids. Here is this little person that I know inside and out (most days). And to see her in a situation where she isn't in charge, where she doesn't know what is going on... it's odd to see the disconnect. On one hand, she is my girl, my Teagan. On the other, she's just one of this group of kids. Also, I want to share a little something I wrote during church. Something Pastor Rusty said stayed with me. I suppose my spiritual ears were open. I forget the exact wording- I wish I'd written it down when he said it. I think it was during a prayer. But bottom line was that God loves us, no matter what we do. Even when I am at my worst, God loves me. Sometimes I am awful to my kids. I get frustrated and angry and I yell and threaten and act ugly. God sees and loves me even then. If God loves me when I am at my worst, when I am acting that way... I can do that with my children. To act on and show love. To focus on guidance and teaching and discipline and not punishments and threats. When I feel frustrated, angry, ready to snap, I will remember God's love and peaceful presence. I will give love and peace to myself, to my children. I will treat my husband with love and peacefulness. I will open my emotional side and be true to my self in my home, in my family. My heart opened up with that. I felt like I was finally reconnecting with the parent I want to be. I feel like, on the parenting front, I've been faltering a lot. The past few weeks, I have been improving but I still have times that I look back and am not pleased with choices I've made. I start each day with the intention of being better but hadn't found the key to making those desires stick. But this has clicked. Doesn't mean I won't ever yell. Doesn't mean I won't get frustrated, won't get angry. But it means that I have a reminder. And I've already used it. I'm a work in progress. Progress is the key word this week!!

Steppin' To The Bad Side...

Bonus points to the first person who knows what the title is quoting!!

Update on the 7 Day Step Challenge...

And for those who are unaware, this was first discussed last week.

Tues 10,242 steps
Weds 11,581 steps
Thurs 11,052 steps
Fri 10,285 steps
Sat 10,065 steps
Sun 10,143 steps

So 7 days of 10K steps could officially be over as of today. But I started the challenge last Thursday so I feel like I need to get 10K through Weds. And 9 days of 10,000 steps per day sounds better, yes? 10 days of 10K would be really awesome... but Thanksgiving Day would be that last day... I will try but I make no promises and will feel no disappointment if I don't achieve all 10K that day.

From Your Interweb to Mine

I feel like I've been published! One of the blogs I follow is "Today on the Interwebs." It's a daily posting of something interesting online. I've brought this blog up before- I check it daily and really enjoy the postings. Last week, I found this really cool LIFE-Google image library and sent the link in to Interwebs... and my finding got chosen! Woohoo! Check it out!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hilarious? Disturbing?

Saw this on The Soup's blog on E! this morning... It's 5 mins long but very entertaining!!


There is a house in our neighborhood that recently started some home improvements. After replacing some of the exterior of the home to a beautiful stone (they did it themselves), they began working on some project in the front yard. We had a hard time telling what it was- it looked like it was going to be a firepit or... who knew?
It ended up being a very pretty fountain. 2 children at the top, holding an umbrella. Water trickled from the umbrella, down the levels of the fountain.
We've hit a cold snap around here. And the fountain, which is beautifully lit at night, was left running and the running water has frozen.
I think it is beautiful.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


I was doing some house cleaning today. Hard to believe, I know. I even missed dance class because I just couldn't stand the condition of the living room anymore. I got a lot done in that hour. And I came across a little sign that used to hang in my office when I was a social worker (I worked in therapeutic foster care before moving to Indiana; my degree is in social work). It is credited only to "Love Unlimited" but I'm pretty sure Barry White's backup singers didn't write it. Feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts! RISKING To laugh is to risk appearing the fool. To weep is to risk appearing sentimental. To reach out for another is to risk involvement. To expose your feelings is to risk exposing your true self. To place your ides, your dreams before a crowd is to risk. To love is to risk not being loved in return. To live is to risk dying. To hope is to risk despair. To try is to risk failure. But, risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing at all. The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, and is nothing. They may avoid suffering and sorrow but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live. Chained by their certitudes, they are a slave. They have forfeited their freedom. Only a person who risks is free.


Another blogger, Mim's Muddle, shared this quiz website and I've had some fun with it this morning!! Name That Candy Bar Name that Soda How long would it take for a Tyrannosaurus Rex to digest your corpse?
I named 9 reindeer in 30 seconds Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? (In 30 seconds)
There are other fun ones- movie villains and dog breeds and colors. If you need to know if your cat is plotting to kill you or if you would survive a bear attack... Check it out by clicking any of my results boxes!

Morning Update

Yesterday, I stepped 10,285 times. Last night, Teagan turned into some sort of demon monster around 11:30. Wouldn't stop sobbing and whining and complaining. Wasn't a scared cry. She was wide awake. Wanted a drink, wanted to potty, said she was hungry. But sobbed the whole time. I'd had about 90 minutes of sleep at that point, had already woken to nurse Zach, Jeff had tried to calm her... it was just ugly. Thankfully, Jeff let me get a little extra sleep this morning. Teagan is also on full steam, high energy, kinda crazy this morning... that is exhausting by itself.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Giveaway- but not mine!

Check this out: If you have been wishing and dreaming for a subscription to Reader's Digest, go check out Beth's blog and enter the contest!!


This really made me laugh out loud. Seriously- people in my office are looking at me funny.

Found this on Andrew Sullivan's "The Daily Dish" on The Atlantic's site. He found it on a site called "GraphJam" but I wasn't able to get on that site...

I just saw a clip where a straight couple are being interviewed and the man says that the reason he opposes same sex marriage is because it would threaten his First Amendment Right to freedom of religion. Huh?

Here's a little quote from the world's most reliable source on any subject... Wikipedia.
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights that expressly prohibits the United States Congress from making laws "respecting an establishment of religion" or that prohibit the free exercise of religion, laws that infringe the freedom of speech, infringe the freedom of the press, limit the right to peaceably assemble, or limit the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

So I read that to say that the government can't establish a nationwide, mandated religion. The government can't make laws that restrict freedom of speech. Can't make laws that step on that whole freedom of the press bit. Can't limit people's right to gather together and peaceably disagree (or agree). Can't limit the people's right to have a voice against the government.

I really don't see how there is anything in that little summary that has anything to do with gay marriage. I really can't see how 2 men or 2 women getting legally married has anything to do with the establishment of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to peaceably gather, or formally complain.

So I'm back and forth between Huh? and Hahaha!


I believe that dreams have meaning and that sometimes dreams are brought to me for a specific reason. Figuring out the reason is the challenge.
For the past 2 nights, I have had very vivid and real dreams about our dog, Ginger, who passed almost a year ago. She was almost 9 years old. Her stomach flipped. She was in intense pain, couldn't eat or drink. It was a middle of the night, emergency vet decision. It was very hard on me and Jeff and we still miss her and talk about her- as does Teagan.
The dreams are happening when I'm not sleeping in my bed- I've been sleeping in Zach's room due to his erratic night time behavior this week. And I've been waking, after these vivid, happy, Ginger is alive and with us dreams, to find Sassy in my bed. Sassy is our toy poodle. She is 10 years old and she and Ginger were constant companions, best friends, pseudo-sisters. She's never displayed any mourning or sadness after Ginger's passing but has focused on her people... she seems to be watching us to see if we are concerned or hurting.
I think part of my funk today is this second dream about my Gee-jar. She was the best dog. In my dreams, I see her face, her eyes. I am petting her and can feel her silky fur, how soft her ears were. I see her scooching across the bed or floor the way she used to... butt in the air, ready to play. Her sad eyes, her playful grin.
Is she coming back to try and tell me something? Am I processing memories because the anniversary of her death is approaching? Am I feeling guilt because I've been semi-considering a new dog or pet?
Or maybe it is all of it.
Bottom line. I miss her. Aside from loving to watch her with Teagan- and she was dedicated to our baby girl- my most fond memories of her were of her sitting by me as I nursed or rocked Teagan to sleep. I would lay Teagan down and sit in her room until she fell asleep and Ginger would stay by my side, her head in my lap, and I would pet her head, her chest, stroke her silky ears. She was so gentle, so patient. Such a good girl.
We love you and miss you, Ginger.

The Day Ahead

I don't really have much to say right now. I'm in a weird mood... hence my "Shhhh" pic over there... I am processing some stuff that I am figuring out about myself and about wha tmakes me tick. So hopefully I'll come back with something really deep and insightful later. Or something. Ended with just a bit over 11K steps yesterday. It's 9:00 and I currently have 2,280 steps done. I have work to do at my desk but will get more steps in soon.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I am past 10K!!! Haven't gone to bed yet so I don't know the final count but I am past 10K! 3 out of 7 days down!

One Foot In Front of the Other

So I belong to a gym. I joined at the end of July. Christy and I joined together- because it is right across the street from the office. Literally. It's small. It's "exclusive." It's less expensive than other gyms. There are 2 trainers there every day and we like them. So we joined. In August, we signed up for a "Boot Camp" that took place twice a week. We work out on our lunch hour and the class was for employees of my company- a handful of us are members. 3 of us did the Boot Camp. It lasted until October. We were measured by improvement shown on a fitness test. We are now doing a Pedometer Challenge. We started by determining a baseline of daily steps. In my day to day life, I have to admit to generally enjoying as much lazy time as I can get. So my baseline was pretty low. Over the course of 3 days, I took a total of 12,912 steps. Pretty pathetic. Only got "aerobic steps" one of the 3 days (aerobic gets measured after 10 minutes of constant motion). For the past 3 days, I've taken a total of 28,612 steps. Much better! And I've gotten at least 2,000 aerobic steps each day. I started out setting my daily goals pretty low. 1,000 aerobic steps (about 10 mins of walking) and 5,000 total steps. I've just adjusted my goals. 8,000 daily steps. 2,000 aerobic steps. Constant motion. A body in motion remains in motion. If I can be moving, I'm moving. I march in place, I do squats, I bounce. Weekend are a challenge. Not because I'm sitting around being lazy. But because I'm moving somewhere to do something and the "doing something" takes up time. I think that all of the Challenge participants are running in a pretty tight pack. I know I am lagging behind Christy. I think there should be a sliding scale to give those of us with kids a break. Ha! It's harder when your time is dictated by the needs, wants, and whims of children. So cheer me on! I really want to do better than I've been doing. I really want to have a solid week of at least 10K steps each day. I'm not sure when I can get that... I achieved it Tues and Weds of this week... I'm confident I can get it done today. Keep me on track! 4 more days of at least 10K steps each day- and that includes over the weekend. It's a Pedometer Challenge and I am going to make it a challenge for me right now!

A New Blog!!

Check this out!

Blogs I Follow

Just a note about my bloglist over there on the side... I went through and updated it this morning. I have removed from the list any blogs that haven't posted in weeks (or months). Doesn't mean I don't love you. Doesn't mean I don't still have you on my list of blogs I follow- I still get your updates in my Dashboard. I just like to keep the "Blogs I Follow" area kinda tidy. So if you want back on my public list, you'd best start posting regularly on your own blog!! Sidebar: And because I get to make up the rules, I did leave the link to Jeffardy over there. Jeff's totally a slacker when it comes to posting. Maybe this will prompt him. But he's my hubby and he writes about our kids so it would be weird to remove him. If we ever renew our vows, maybe I'll add that in. "I, Liz, promise you, Jeff, that I will never remove your blog link from my Blog List."

A Little Bit of Holiday Heaven

Edited to add: I am fascinated by sites that do recipes with follow along pictures. So this is my version. Consider it the first installment of "Office Cooking with Liz." Could become a regular feature- cooking breakfast, lunch, snacks in my office. Capturing it all with my cell phone camera. See what I do for you, my gentle readers? Just had to share... I am enjoying a cup of coffee. Not just any coffee. Liz's Holiday Special Coffee. 1 packet of Swiss Miss Dark Chocolate Sensation (I get mine at Super Target. It's in a brown box and usually runs around $1 for a box of 8 packets.) Coffee Coffee Mate Peppermint Mocha Liquid Creamer My method... Empty packet into my mug.
Add a smidge of HOT water.
Mix well. So that you have a nice, creamy, thick chocolate liquid.
Add coffee, fill the cup. Don't let the pot fool you... it's definitely NOT decaf!
Add creamer to taste. That first step really makes a difference. Dissolves all of the powdered hot chocolate mix and eliminates those annoying clumps you can sometimes get. And to make it especially yummy... Trader Joe's Candy Cane Joe-Joe's. These are like Oreos but the creamy center has bits of peppermint in it. Heavenly! And to bring the whole heavenly mix together... Dip the cookie into the choco-coffee-minty drink!
You will hear those Christmas angels singing- I swear it!!

Single Ladies

I love YouTube. Beyonce's "Single Ladies" has become quite a huge hit. I've got it downloaded on my phone- good beat, makes me walk fast. I like music that makes me want to move. What I love is getting on YouTube and seeing all the... tributes... to a song or whatever. Singing... Dancing... It all takes me back... I remember friends in junior high who would sit with a cassette recorder and record movies so they could learn every line. Grease was the main one I remember. I remember kids in school memorizing every step of Thriller. And now those kids are adults, finding a new way to share all that they learned. So what childhood memories do you have of singing and dancing and pop culture?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Old People

My grandma, my mom's mom, will be joining us for Thanksgiving this year. She and my grandpa live near Chicago in a condo near the home of my aunt. My aunt and uncle convinced them to move to Chicago back when Grandpa retired from the ministry. And while Grandma and Grandpa were in good health and while aunt and uncle were in the midst of careers and raising kids, it all went together nicely. Now, aunt and uncle are retiring from the medical field. Plans are to move to another state- a colder and more northern state. That will happen within the next year or so, I think. But the immediate issue is Thanksgiving. Aunt and uncle are taking an extended vacation to somewhere tropical- with no one available to care for the grandparents in Chicago. Sidebar- the rest of the siblings are scattered. My mom is in Cincinnati, her sister is in KY, another sister is in San Francisco, her brother in another part of northern CA. For years, my mom has been wanting my grandparents to live in Cincinnati. Until recently, mom's brother also lived in Cincy so there would have been 3 siblings within an hour or so of each other, all available to help care for my grandparents. Enough history. If I keep going, it will get really complicated. So while aunt and uncle are on tropical vacation, there is concern about Grandma and Grandpa being left alone. It is believed that Grandpa can pretty well take care of himself. Taking care of Grandma is the challenge. Her health is failing her. Quickly. My parents are going to great lengths to convert the house for her 2 weeks stay. They are converting the dining room into a bedroom so that Grandma won't have to deal with stairs. They are having a wheelchair ramp installed. And other things... but they are changing the house to make this work. My mom is facing the death of her mother... wants me to "take notes" so I know how to care for her when the times comes. I'm not prepared to think about that. So here is where I need you, gentle readers. My mom suggested finding a way to prepare my daughter for being around my Grandma. She is now an old person in failing health. She is frail, she is in a wheelchair. She looks different from other people. She is lacking energy. I've been looking for children's books that explain aging and that might even help prepare for passing. But I've not come up with anything- at least not on! For parents- Have you had your kids interacting with old people? How have they handled the difference? Have you come across concerns from your kids? For everyone- What memories do you have of old people in your childhood? I remember going to visit my mom's paternal grandmother and grandfather in the nursing home every week. Great Grandmama had been struck by several severe strokes and all I remember of her was that I couldn't understand anything she said and she seemed to always be miserable. I was scared of her. Great Grandpa, on the other hand, was my respite in that nursing home. He was in the men's wing and when I came in, he always had candy for me. And I remember his sweater, for some reason. I was around age 4-5, maybe 6 for their lifetimes.
And I have to admit... I am scared, too. The picture below is my Grandma with Teagan about 2 years ago. This is how I want to remember her. Smiling. Full of joy. I am scared to see her faltering, sick, tired. I don't want her to suffer. She was a very important part of my childhood. I've told my mom that she has huge expectations to achieve in my mind... so far, she is doing wonderfully. But it scares me to think that the memories of my Grandma may end up clouded by the vision of a frail, sickly, struggling old woman. I'm hoping that she still has her smile and her laugh.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Great Debate

We are at the age where we have to make a decision about something very important to our family. It came up last year in a way that I hadn't anticipated. And this year, decisions must be made. We have to have a solid front, Jeff and I. There can't be any wishy-washy, undecided, play it by ear kind of thinking.

Santa Claus or St. Nicholas?

Last year, we talked about Santa. We saw him one time- at Jeff's company Christmas party. Teagan decided that all she wanted from Santa was a "big, big, big, big pillow and a big, big, big, big blanket." So Santa brought her a comforter for her bed and a king size pillow. But here is what I never imagined would be a child's reaction to the Santa story.

It's Christmas Eve. For weeks, we've been singing songs and reading books about Santa and Christmas. Bedtime comes and I give the standard parent line "Go to sleep as fast as you can! Santa can't bring your presents unless you are sound asleep!" A look of panic passed by her little face. Her big blues eyes looked up at me and said "Mommy, I don't want Santa to come in our house."

Oy. My logical and cautious daughter. Doesn't want a strange man to sneak into the house, doesn't like the idea that he's been watching her already. It is pretty creepy when you think about it from that perspective. I assured her that we could leave a note for Santa to just leave our presents on the front porch and we would bring them in that morning. Which we did. All of that is something of a distant memory for her. But it raised significant doubt about Santa Claus in my mind.

I gave up on Santa when I was 5. Through a series of egg events, I determined, on my own, that the Easter Bunny was a sham. I went to my mom and confronted her. She told me that I was right- there wasn't really an Easter Bunny. I left the room. I come back and ask... "No Santa, either? And no tooth fairy?" We still had stockings and teeth left under pillows, of course. And as we get closer to the holiday, I will share the story of my most magical Christmas. I still very much believe in Christmas magic and miracles.

I am leaning towards not pushing the "magic" of Santa Claus. I'm thinking, instead, teaching about Saint Nicholas and that the things he actually did are the things we celebrate by visiting with Santa and hanging stockings and so on. I've been researching websites and books on the subject. What I love about the idea is that it still allows plenty of stockings and gifts and sitting on Santa's lap. But it gives the legend some history, some explanation. Another way that I think about it is that I am already asking my children to stretch their imaginations when it comes to Christmas. I am asking them to believe that an angel came down from heaven and gave news to Mary and Joseph. That Mary got pregnant with God's baby. That she gave birth in a barn and that Jesus lay around in a feeding trough. That this was God's way of giving humanity His greatest gift- His son. That's a lot for a kid to take in when you think about it.

So if Christmas is about traditions... about celebrating something that happened a long, long, long time ago... about having belief in things that don't make a lot of logical sense...

But at the same time, I think of the time that Jeff dressed up as Santa for his company's Christmas party. This was before the party was hosted at the local country club- and the club requires that the company use their provided Santa. So Jeff had a huge advantage... he knew these kids and their parents. 2 little boys, probably around ages 7 or 8, kept hanging around Jeff's "throne" by the tree. Kept asking him questions, trying to determine if he was real or not. He passed every test and then he blew their minds when he mentioned each boys' father by name and said that he still remembers bringing presents to their dads when they were little. You should have seen their eyes get HUGE!

And then I flip flop again. We were strengthening lies to these boys... but at the same time, we were giving them an inkling of Christmas magic, I think. Because when they are adults and they are looking back, they will still have to kind of scratch their heads and wonder how that Santa knew the things he knew.

Saint Nicholas was a boy when his parents died. They left him a lot of money so he was a wealthy young man. Many of his friends were poor. So he would secretly sneak and drop bags of money or needed items in their homes in the dark of night. It is because of his secret, anonymous giving that the legend of Santa Claus was born. That is something I really like about focusing on Saint Nicholas. It really lends itself to the focus on charity, on compassion. Santa tends to feel more commercial. Santa tends to be about what I want. Saint Nicholas feels like more about what others need. Teaching my children charity and compassion is a main priority in my parenting goals. So do I lead with Saint Nicholas and bridge that to the legend of Santa? Or do I go with the masses and fill their heads with tales of a fat guy in a red suit who flies around in a sleigh with magic reindeer and gives presents to every boy and girl in the whole world in one night?

I'm gearing up for the holiday season. Be prepared for blogging about trips to the Children's Museum, the Zoo, and other holiday adventures. And also watch for entries about the charitable things that we do this season.

So leave me your memories of Santa Claus... your opinions on Saint Nicholas vs Santa Claus, how you handled it with your kids, how you handled the discovery that he isn't "real," and share if you've done something different altogether. Also share your favorite holiday compassion projects.


A little note on yesterday's lengthy post. The truly amazing thing from those pics... the Brigadoon image... those are NOT milk boobs!! That was when I was still small chested and had to rig up 2 bras to create cleavage!! If I had to do it today... the girls would be popping out all over! OK. I feel better having gotten that out of my system.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Getting to Know Me...

So I just feel like sharing more of my background and who I am.
I played volleyball in high school. I was even named "Most Improved Player" one year. However, I am not athletic.
I got involved with my high school's Outdoor Club and went on several grand adventures- white water rafting on the New River, hiking/camping/rafting along the Rio Grande, even dogsledding in far northern MN. However, I am not the outdoorsy type.
I enjoyed those things at the time. And I suppose that, in the right frame of mind, I would enjoy them again.
One thing has been with me since childhood.
During my one year as a Brownie (that's yet another story for another day), my troop put on a play. I was the lead. I think my character's name was Lucy. I have no clue what the play was about... all I remember is that I refused to do it! I ended up terrified and couldn't go on. In fact, I think I've repressed the memories from most of that situation because it isn't clear in my mind and I have no clue what the troop ended up doing about it.
But even with that bleak start, I was destined for a life in the theatre!
Junior high. My mom has become friends with a woman at church who owns and operates the concession stand for the Taft Theatre in downtown Cincinnati. At this time, this was the main theatre in the city and this was where all the Broadway touring shows passed through. We started working for her... which meant getting to the theatre early to set up and then selling concessions- candy bars and cans of soda- during intermission. I wish I could say that I remember this being something fun for me and mom, something we bonded over... which I'm sure we did. But the impact on me was THEATRE. I saw shows over and over and over and fell in love over and over and over. I saw Cats and Camelot (even met Richard Harris and got his autograph) and Les Mis and Edwin Drood and Phantom. I fell in love with the stage, the performances, the glory of the theatre. I loved being so comfortable with that building, feeling like I knew the place and it knew me.
Eventually, the theatre bought out the concession stand and my days of mass exposure came to a screeching halt.
In high school, I dabbled. My school was a good 30 minute drive from home so extra-curriculars weren't at the top of the list. I was in one production, did makeup for another. Attended a summer session, took acting classes.
In college, the fever was full strength again. I got involved right away freshman year. My first production was "Emergency Room." I played a homeless woman, Helen, who was a constant presence in the ER's waiting room. I stole things. Got some good laughs. And was hooked. Went on to "South Pacific" and "Our Town" and "Once On This Island." Dabbled in some student written productions, a small improv group.
Then I took a few years off. I was focused on my internship (my degree is in social work), then focused on my job (therapeutic foster care social worker- the job was my life). Moved from Cincinnati to Indianapolis...
I didn't get back into social work. I looked but nothing was paying anywhere near the massive salary I was making in my previous license-required state (starting salary was a whopping 25K). So I sought temp office employment... did a little full time retail work... and then back to the corporate race and I've been here ever since. And what it gave me was time. Time in the evenings and weekends.
Through a casual conversation with a co-worker, I learned that Indy has a large and thriving community theatre scene. So I started investigating and making phone calls. Ended up auditioning for "The Secret Garden" at The Belfry in Noblesville, IN. Got cast in a 2 second walk on role. Someone dropped out and I got moved up to the ghost chorus. Connected with people, made friendships, sang and acted and loved it. In fact, it was during that show that I met someone who is a major part of our lives now- Christy. Which means I've known her for almost a decade!
From there, I continued auditioning. The odds were stacked against me, but I went for the single female role in "A Few Good Men" and I landed it. And didn't look back. Auditioned for show after show. Being the "new face," I got some pretty good roles. I was a horse/prisoner in "Man of La Mancha." I was Meg in "Brigadoon." I did a melodrama where I played the spoiled, rich, indulged female. I met my husband when we were cast as romantic leads in "The Snow Ball." I started working backstage- managing the costume room, assistant directing, directing, producing, stage managing. I got involved with the administration end of things by sitting on the Board of Directors to represent the theatre's directors. I also represented our theatre on the Encore Association- a group that builds and recognizes area community theatre.
I was heavily involved, as was Jeff. We were approaching our wedding date. I had produced and ended up stage managing "Sugar Babies" at Footlite. Then we got wrangled into "It's A Wonderful Life" at Mud Creek Theatre. We actually missed some rehearsals to run off to Gatlinburg and get married.
I continued with theatre until the last possible moment... until I stepped into the greatest role of my life, the most important production that Jeff and I could be part of. Teagan and Zach.
I was producing and also acting in Christy's production of "Chapter Two" when I miscarried our first pregnancy in 2004. I miscarried the Tuesday of tech week. What a horrible week that was... but thank God for the theatre. Jeff and I were forced to be surrounded by friends who truly loved us and held us up and together during that horrible time. We had to show up (he was on crew), support each other, and focus on a show, a performance. Some nights I took it scene by scene... deflating when I came offstage. I'm certain that it impacted my performance but no one ever said a negative word to me.
I was directing a young adult production of "Lucky Stiff" when I got pregnant with Teagan. Those kids were so excited for us! I also ended up stepping into the directorial role on "You're A Good Man Charlie Brown" after another director bailed.
During Teagan's first year of life, I tried to keep a tiny finger in the theatre scene. I produced 2 shows- "Run For Your Wife" and "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest." I could produce because it only meant a trip to the theatre as needed- about a once a week commitment- and most of the work could be done from home (phone calls, creating programs and posters). But I didn't like being away from Teagan...
After Cuckoo's Nest, I dropped out of the scene completely. I've even pretty much stopped going to see shows. When we ended up pregnant again... that really changed everything.
I keep waiting for that theatre bug to bite me again... to buzz in my ear... pique my interest.
But being a mom is all that I want to be right now. My kids will be older soon enough. They will be busy with their own activities soon enough... busy with their friends soon enough... These are years that I can't miss.
And because I love theatre so deeply, I don't want to do it until I can give it my all. Prior to having kids, I could eat, sleep, and breathe theatre. I could be there until 11:00 at night during tech week. I could spend a whole Saturday helping to build or paint a set. I could waste away a weekend chasing down props or memorizing lines.
I can't anymore. I just can't. I hope that someday I can again. At the very least, I look forward to the day when the kids are older and we can hire a regular sitter and be season ticket holders at our old stomping ground.
Amazing how motherhood changes you.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Love- Family Style

Something I love about my husband... sometimes he makes dinner! Something I love about my dog... she's adorable, fun, loyal, loving, gentle. Something I love about my kids... they are siblings. They have each other. And the fresh out of the bath hair is pretty great, too.

A Makeover!

I have a new look! Do you like it? I tried many different layouts... but I'm not a fan of images in the background behind text. And I don't love things that impede on the text area. So it was a challenge. But I think I like this pretty well!

Recommendations, Please

I think I need to find a new place to load pics. I've been using Snapfish. I like it because it is easy to load pics, edit them, the red eye tool is awesome, I can print pics at Walgreens, great pic gifts, and I can save my pics to load for web use. It seems they have taken away that last bit. I can't save my pics anymore. So I'm searching for a new service. Where do you load your digital pics?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Gray Gray Saturday

Bah. Blah. Ugh. Busy day but nothing exciting today. Got up. Groomer came to groom Sassy. We use a mobile groomer- she has a decked out truck and can do full grooming services right outside your home. It rocks and costs the same as if we took Sassy somewhere. And we love our groomer!! Rhonda is friendly and great with our little pooch. Dance class. Teagan just loves it. It is such a good match for her personality and she really shines in there. Home for Zach's nap. I tried to go donate blood but my iron was low. Again. So they signed me up for an iron program- they will send me free iron supplements. I take them for 60 days and then go back to donate. That should do the trick... I am bound and determined to become a blood donor. It is something that is very important to one of my closest friends and I really want to do this for her. I've tried 3 times in the past 3+ months and been turned down each time. Lunch. And then a trip to the grocery store. Our local Marsh was having a holiday event- full of samples and demonstrations! We had hot cider, yogurt covered pretzels, apple slices, chicken wings, crackers, pita chips, cheese ball spread, hummus, a chipotle dip, shrimp with cocktail sauce, lil smokies in bbq sauce... it was practically a full meal! But no demonstrations... And now we are home. Trying to get Teagan to go to sleep. It's rainy and cold and gray outside. I think I'm catching a cold. I need to go to church for a little while for the prayer vigil. I had wanted to go downtown for the rally but with the weather and my stuffy sneeziness... I'm not going to make it. So a typical, boring day at our house. Anything fun going on at your house?

Friday, November 14, 2008


I just felt the urge to share a few things. So that you know me better, I guess. I don't wear makeup. Or... I rarely wear makeup. When I'm hormonal and having breakouts, I wear some cover up and powder. But I am not one who enjoys or needs to spend 5, 10, 15 minutes in the mirror each day dealing with cover up, powder, foundation, blush, mascara, eye shadow, eye liner, lip liner, bronzer... I am perfectly comfortable without make up on. Not to say that I don't enjoy how I look with make up on! I just don't need make up to feel good or better about myself. (I do wear a little make up when I take pictures. That's due to my theatre background- I know that facial features need to be enhanced to be seen sometimes.) I love to read. But rarely have time anymore. And it sucks. I bought a book I've been wanting to read. It's been sitting by the front steps since Saturday and I haven't even opened it. When I take Teagan to dance class, it reminds me of the joy I got when I danced as a girl and again in college. One of these days, I will take a dance class at this studio, too. They offer adult classes and I really want to do it! I wear a pedometer every day. It's a challenge that I signed up for at my gym. Yesterday, I had a total of 13,801 steps. My minimum goal is 5,000 steps. My ideal daily goal is 10,000. I'd love to hit 15,000 sometime. I've learned that it is easier than I thought to stay moving, march in place, etc. I've also proven what I already knew- it can be hard to squeeze in focused time on exercise. Finding 20 minutes to go for a walk or an hour for the gym... that time just isn't always available. But I can stand up and march in place in front of the TV! My job is pretty dull but I have little things that make it bearable. I have a TV on my desk. I like to have it on but I don't sit and watch it. I do enjoy listening to the TV programs. Fluffy enough that I can tune them out. Can't listen to music because I want to sing and dance! I have a secret love of ABC Soaps. I watched in college. I stopped when I graduated. I started again when Teagan was born. I'm an off and on watcher... I can easily go a month or 2 without turning it on and then I'm hooked for weeks. I'm hooked right now (One Life to Live especially... the Starr/baby storyline). So now you know a little more about me. Nothing deep. So feel free to share some things that I should know about you!

Sing It Forward

Do you ever come across a stranger and just feel a connection? Have them impact your life in an unanticipated and powerful way? My friend Latifa and I decided to spend our lunch break at Costco this past Wednesday. This is a regular and favorite lunch spot. We can feel like we are getting exercise by walking a lot. We get a "free lunch" by enjoying the samples throughout the store. Stroll and snack! We have made our way to the frozen food section. We are munching some spinach and mozzarella ravioli. And I hear a voice... singing. Who sings in Costco? It's a deep and rich and soulful voice. Not singing any particular song. Just singing. Yeah. Ye-ah. Ooooh, yeeeaah. The voice comes around the corner. He is dressed in a black shirt and black pants. He is fully aware that he is heard. I become aware that he is wanting to be heard but not in a showing off way. Just in a sharing way. I wanted to go sing with him. Latifa thought he was a little nuts. We continue strolling and snacking. He continues up and down the aisles. Hmmm. Hm Hm Hm. Yeeaah. Yee-aah. He is our Pied Piper. We are following him, enjoying the tune, the notes, the lack of words. When he leaves our ear shot, we wonder where he is and feel relieved to find him again. After passing up and down most of the aisles, I venture to speak to him... to tell him that I am enjoying his singer, that we want to follow him... so he sings... "Follow me, follow me, follow me!" He side hugs me, he dances, he laughs. He has won us both over. He is full of life. A song in his heart that he is sharing with anyone who wants to hear it. 2 days later, Latifa and I are still singing his song to each other. And it makes us smile and laugh. Music is powerful. It connects us, moves us. Several months ago, my family ventured out for dinner. Teagan got to choose and she was in a "Pizza Hut buffet!" phase. I'm at the salad bar. An older gentleman comes up behind me... and comments that I am humming. I hadn't even realized it!! But I was happy, enjoying the evening out with my kids and husband. So I was humming and singing quietly. He called attention to it and I stopped. In the quiet that followed his observation, he quickly corrects me. "Don't stop! I love to hear someone loving life enough to share it in a song!" So if you are loving life... sing it forward! Connect with others, touch someone else, bring a smile to someone's face. Sure there will be people who think you're weird. But they will secretly be wishing they had the same chutzpah. And someone will hear you and you will have brought a song into their day that may carry over for days to come! Sing it forward!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Managing Meltdowns

Teagan had another meltdown this morning. Another of those out of the blue, nothing triggered it, leaves us bewildered kind of meltdowns. Jeff took the kids to daycare, with me right behind. Apparently, Teagan had a meltdown because she wanted to drive a different direction down the street. But we aren't here to discuss the cause of this meltdown. I got her out of Jeff's car and carried her into the house. She is screaming and blubbering the whole way there. Lisa catches my eye as I approach the door, assesses the situation in minutes. I walk in and take Teagan directly to a solitary spot in the playroom where she can sit. I get her coat off, her hat off. And I tell her that she can come in the living room once she is done having her fit. Lisa is waiting for me at the doorway- holds her arms out and hugs me. Boy, did I ever need that! We get Zach all settled. We chat with Lisa and fill her in on the evening and morning. I decide to go in and talk to Teagan again. I wish I could capture what was different. I know it was me. But somehow the anger was gone. I went to Teagan, squatted down and asked her to stand up so I could talk to her. She stood and I held her. She calmed down. We talked about still being able to have a great day, still being able to make good choices. It's just so hard to be 3, almost 4. Be a big sister. Be a daughter. Play and watch TV and eat and snack. Her body is changing every day. Her appetite changes every day. She hasn't been sleeping as well. So I have to discipline myself to walk away. To leave her to cry and scream and have her fit. And come back to her with love and softness. We'll see how it goes. Keep with me, gentle readers. Keep the support and internet love coming!

Today Is A Good Day

The short version... Bedtime sucked (see last night's blog entry). Church meeting was FANTASTIC. Morning was ok. Ride to daycare and drop off was awful. But then it all changed and was good! The long version... I head to my church meeting. I'm having an emotional time of some changes that have come down at my church. If you are interested, you can read the post I wrote a few weeks back about it. Quick review is basically that the service we were attending has been canceled, partially because of the new financial campaign that has started. My emotional issue is with the dumping of our worship experience. Jeff isn't loving the financial campaign (but I fully understand its necessity). I had committed to helping with the Ministry Fair service, which is this Sunday. When my emotional "crisis" happened, I didn't feel like I was connected to that project any longer. I still assisted and actually had a very good conversation with a church member about what I was working through. I was encouraged to talk to our pastor about what I was feeling. I was left feeling like I wasn't alone in how I was feeling. Both very important points. I am also on our Pastoral Support Team (PST). We had a meeting last night to discuss annual budget things. I wasn't sure I wanted to go because I felt that it was going to be my time to step down. If I feel like I am needing to church shop, then I guess I can't really be supporting our Pastors. But I went. I'm generally one who keeps an open heart and an open mind. I'm not one to rush into a decision of great importance because I want to know as much as I can first. This whole church thing is something I am taking step by step, little by little. No definite goal in mind- other than having a church home that is best for my family. The best part of going to church last night was that I heard from important people that others are not happy with how the dumping of the early service happened. Not happy with the decision that was made. I was again encouraged to please talk to our pastor so he could hear my experience. Is the issue resolved? Have I gained some new insight or understanding into why things have changed the way they have? Not really. But now I feel less alone, less isolated. More understood, more heard. Of course, it takes speaking up in the first place to be heard. I also found a way to succeed with sacrificial giving. I don't have dollars that I can sacrifice. I don't have discretionary spending that I can eliminate. What I do have is a weekday lunch hour. It's usually my exercise time. Our a lunch with friends time. But now it is time that can be utilized by my church. A frustration I've long had with the PST is that I feel like we randomly meet just to discuss financial decisions in regards to salaries of church staff, benefits of the pastors, etc. The only guidance I've been given in regards to providing support to our Pastors is to offer to take them to lunch. That is hard for me- the money thing, working on the opposite side of town, etc. In our meeting last night, our Pastors joined us. Our lead Pastor spoke of not having enough time in the day to get everything done. Of being so far behind the curve that they are finding out about things going on with church families days too late. So I spoke up. We are the Pastoral SUPPORT Team. Let us SUPPORT you. If you need help, call me. If I can't help on my own, I will contact people and find someone to step up to the plate. I offered... I work near one of the main hospitals. If you need someone to make a hospital visit, I am more than happy to do so on my lunch hour. I would be pleased to go and visit and pray with members of our congregation or people connected to them. In the meeting, I also specifically heard my Pastor talk about wanting to focus in the upcoming year on not losing existing members. I know one of our pastors reads my blog... and I truly felt like that had either been shared or God was truly touching my Pastor's heart and forming his words... He doesn't want to lose existing members out the back door. Doesn't want them to even get there. This means that it is really important for me to talk to my Pastor and make sure he understands my experience, my husband's experience, in the decision and execution of the dumping of the early service. So now I have a plan. I will take it Sunday by Sunday. But I will keep going back. I will talk to my Pastor. I will give my time to help my Pastors as best I can. This is far longer than I intended it to be. I want to thank my readers who have offered words of support and prayers. I'll post later about the parenting stuff... huge thanks to those who read and commented on last night's entry. That meant so much. And I am using those replies as a reminder to stay focused. And it worked this morning. It worked. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Change of plans

I had intended to come and tell a great story about my day... but instead, I need to vent. My daughter is 3 years and 8 months old. Some days, she is fantastic. A joy and delight. I want nothing more than to spend every moment of my time with her- cuddling, laughing, playing, talking. I love chancing her down the sidewalk as she rides her tricycle. I love cooking with her. I love her sense of humor. And then there are moments like right now. A reportedly good day at daycare. A fine evening at home. Ate dinner, watched TV, played with some blocks. And then it was bedtime. She'd been "warned." 5 minutes until we put on pajamas... I am back in the bedroom, nursing Zach. I hear the screeching meltdown. *sigh* Here we go. Again. Offer to swap. Jeff wants to handle the pajamas. Zach is desperate to get off my bed and keeps saying "dada." He knows that things aren't right with his dad, his sister. We end up swapping after the pajamas get put on. She is in full on screeching, crying, screaming meltdown. I haven't seen this since... well, Saturday. She gets so worked up that she is incoherent, inconsolible. Bargaining for the other parent, crying the heartbroken cry. Raging and sobbing. I'm not proud of my own choices. I yelled. I threatened. I feel like I snapped. When she has this out of control meltdown, I lose it. It isn't a rage or even an overwhelming anger. Just a wave of frustration like I've never known before. I expect her to make good choices. I am trying to teach her to control herself. And I can't do the same. I can logically. I can talk it. Why can't I make myself do it? What is it about that screeching, out of control meltdown that gets under my skin like that? Logically, I know all the right answers. It's the practicality of making it happen that is proving to be my biggest challenge.

Need a Laugh??

Many thanks to my friend Christy who found this blog via a comment left at Cake Wrecks today. Fail Blog And for those who don't enjoy adult humor, you can even see just the G-Rated version! Fail Blog and Cake Wrecks are great places to stop by when you need a giggle. And feel free to share sites you enjoy for a good laugh...

A little of this, a pinch of that...

Couple random things to share today! First, I am pleased to report that Zach made up for yesterday... he gave me multiple snuggles this morning at Lisa's. Even whined for more before I left- and I was beyond happy to indulge him! Second... I am very much wanting to go downtown this Saturday afternoon and participate in the nationwide rally against Prop 8 and other anti-equality legislation. Details can be found at Join the Impact. This is a total grassroots organization effort. Spread the word, be part of history. You can find your city's location on that site, too. But basically, rallies are being formed at various city government centers. My weekend is kind of up in the air. Jeff has a dental procedure being done Friday afternoon that may or may not leave him a little under the weather. So my plans kind of hinge around that. I would love to take my kids... but I think they would dampen my own experience and would be bored and so on. So I'm undecided on that one. Again- depends on daddy. Of course, we could always head to the Children's Museum right after dance class... I can bop over to the rally at 1:30 for about an hour and then pick up the family afterwards... I watched parts of Oprah yesterday and I definitely want to get Dr. Oz's new book You: Being Beautiful. I already own You: On A Diet and I felt like I learned a lot from that book about how my body works. And from what I saw on the show, the Beautiful book is about grooming and maintenance... skin, nails, hair, etc. There is a huge series of the You books (and CD's and DVD's). Perusing has shown me some others I want to check out! I really enjoy doing my "How Am I Feeling" daily pic but feel like I need more pics and feelings... any suggestions? Maybe I should take some time and create my own faces based on Borgman's "How Are You Feeling Today?" I could take that list of feelings and create my own faces... hmmmm... I wanted to put up some pics to share... random images of the family... but the site I use to load my pics isn't cooperating. Grrrr... According to my pedometer, I stepped 11,135 times yesterday.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Question of Love

I have to admit that I haven't been a regular viewer of MSNBC... until Election Night. I was flipping from one news channel to the next, hooked on all the coverage.

 I'd heard of Keith Olbermann and my husband explained the Ben Affleck on SNL skit to me... I'd never seen the guy so what did I know?

And then someone sent me this link to MSNBC. Olbermann gave a statement about Prop 8 and gay marriage. And it is powerful and poetic and I couldn't agree more with all he has to say. I know I don't have huge readership... but I do hope you will read the transcript (either at the link, where you can also watch his statement, or below where I have copied and pasted it). Maybe this will say something to you to show you a different side of the issue. Maybe you will be inspired to pass this along to friends and family and message boards. Or maybe you will still harden your heart to love. All I ask is that you read or watch with as open a mind as you can give.


Finally tonight as promised, a Special Comment on the passage, last week, of Proposition Eight in California, which rescinded the right of same-sex couples to marry, and tilted the balance on this issue, from coast to coast.

Some parameters, as preface. This isn't about yelling, and this isn't about politics, and this isn't really just about Prop-8. And I don't have a personal investment in this: I'm not gay, I had to strain to think of one member of even my very extended family who is, I have no personal stories of close friends or colleagues fighting the prejudice that still pervades their lives.

And yet to me this vote is horrible. Horrible. Because this isn't about yelling, and this isn't about politics. This is about the human heart, and if that sounds corny, so be it.

If you voted for this Proposition or support those who did or the sentiment they expressed, I have some questions, because, truly, I do not understand. Why does this matter to you? What is it to you? In a time of impermanence and fly-by-night relationships, these people over here want the same chance at permanence and happiness that is your option. They don't want to deny you yours. They don't want to take anything away from you. They want what you want—a chance to be a little less alone in the world.

Only now you are saying to them—no. You can't have it on these terms. Maybe something similar. If they behave. If they don't cause too much trouble. You'll even give them all the same legal rights—even as you're taking away the legal right, which they already had. A world around them, still anchored in love and marriage, and you are saying, no, you can't marry. What if somebody passed a law that said you couldn't marry?

I keep hearing this term "re-defining" marriage. If this country hadn't re-defined marriage, black people still couldn't marry white people. Sixteen states had laws on the books which made that illegal in 1967. 1967.

The parents of the President-Elect of the United States couldn't have married in nearly one third of the states of the country their son grew up to lead. But it's worse than that. If this country had not "re-defined" marriage, some black people still couldn't marry black people. It is one of the most overlooked and cruelest parts of our sad story of slavery. Marriages were not legally recognized, if the people were slaves. Since slaves were property, they could not legally be husband and wife, or mother and child. Their marriage vows were different: not "Until Death, Do You Part," but "Until Death or Distance, Do You Part." Marriages among slaves were not legally recognized.

You know, just like marriages today in California are not legally recognized, if the people are gay.

And uncountable in our history are the number of men and women, forced by society into marrying the opposite sex, in sham marriages, or marriages of convenience, or just marriages of not knowing, centuries of men and women who have lived their lives in shame and unhappiness, and who have, through a lie to themselves or others, broken countless other lives, of spouses and children, all because we said a man couldn't marry another man, or a woman couldn't marry another woman. The sanctity of marriage.

How many marriages like that have there been and how on earth do they increase the "sanctity" of marriage rather than render the term, meaningless?

What is this, to you? Nobody is asking you to embrace their expression of love. But don't you, as human beings, have to embrace... that love? The world is barren enough.

It is stacked against love, and against hope, and against those very few and precious emotions that enable us to go forward. Your marriage only stands a 50-50 chance of lasting, no matter how much you feel and how hard you work.

And here are people overjoyed at the prospect of just that chance, and that work, just for the hope of having that feeling. With so much hate in the world, with so much meaningless division, and people pitted against people for no good reason, this is what your religion tells you to do? With your experience of life and this world and all its sadnesses, this is what your conscience tells you to do?

With your knowledge that life, with endless vigor, seems to tilt the playing field on which we all live, in favor of unhappiness and hate... this is what your heart tells you to do? You want to sanctify marriage? You want to honor your God and the universal love you believe he represents? Then Spread happiness—this tiny, symbolic, semantical grain of happiness—share it with all those who seek it. Quote me anything from your religious leader or book of choice telling you to stand against this. And then tell me how you can believe both that statement and another statement, another one which reads only "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

You are asked now, by your country, and perhaps by your creator, to stand on one side or another. You are asked now to stand, not on a question of politics, not on a question of religion, not on a question of gay or straight. You are asked now to stand, on a question of love. All you need do is stand, and let the tiny ember of love meet its own fate.

You don't have to help it, you don't have it applaud it, you don't have to fight for it. Just don't put it out. Just don't extinguish it. Because while it may at first look like that love is between two people you don't know and you don't understand and maybe you don't even want to know. It is, in fact, the ember of your love, for your fellow person just because this is the only world we have. And the other guy counts, too.

This is the second time in ten days I find myself concluding by turning to, of all things, the closing plea for mercy by Clarence Darrow in a murder trial.

But what he said, fits what is really at the heart of this:

"I was reading last night of the aspiration of the old Persian poet, Omar-Khayyam," he told the judge. It appealed to me as the highest that I can vision. I wish it was in my heart, and I wish it was in the hearts of all: So I be written in the Book of Love; I do not care about that Book above. Erase my name, or write it as you will, So I be written in the Book of Love."


My Kids Have 2 Mommies

My baby fell. My baby got hurt. And I'm going to whine about it. We arrive at Lisa's. The kids are bundled up in their warm coats. We go in the kitchen (hard floor). Teagan is asking me to tell Lisa some details about our plan for dinner (she's going to make great choices all day so that we can have cinnamon rolls for dinner). Suddenly, Zach takes a step, his foot flies out from under him, and he lands face first, mouth first, on the hard floor. He starts the big sucking in air cry... I'm waiting for the scream, I'm holding him to my shoulder, against my coat, trying to calm him down. First glance, as I picked him up, was that he was fine. But he picked his head up from my shoulder and Lisa reacts and I look- blood. And it sure seemed like a lot. Coming out of the corner of his mouth, soaking into my coat. Lisa goes to grab napkins, I ask for ice. Start cleaning him up, trying to still calm him and also assess where the injury is. He enjoys sucking on ice and I can see that his upper lip is swelling and turning purple-blue on the bottom/inside. And here is where my heart breaks. I am on the floor with him, Lisa is standing over us. I am holding him and holding his ice and so on. And he reaches for her. She picks him up, he puts his head on her shoulder, calms down. She puts him back down. And I hold it all in. Because it is good that he has 2 people he can count on and turn to and who love him and take care of him. Because I am relieved that he truly loves Lisa and feels comforted by her. But... I don't even have to type any words. Any working mom who has had her babies in daycare knows what I am saying. Understands. Has had their own heart break and sing and weep and laugh at the same time. My baby got hurt today. And I am not there to be with him, to choose soft and cold foods for him, to help him drink from a cup, and to offer medication as needed. I am not there with his blankie, my breast, his mommy comfort. He has someone who will comfort him, feed him, hold him. And I am here, at work, in my office, trying to hold it all in.