Monday, July 30, 2012

Baking with the kiddo!

It's no secret that I love anything that has to do with food or the kitchen. Cooking? Check! Baking? Check! This is something I hope to pass on to my kid(s). I believe it when they say that kids will likely be more willing to try new things when they help prepare the meal. Hopefully this will work because I'm all for my kid trying anything other than Mac & Cheese and chicken nuggets! (He eats a few other things too, but he's quite picky and not willing to try...)

This week, thanks to a club card special and a coupon, I found a couple new products from Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines that I think will help my 2 1/2 year old to know that there is more to the kitchen than the refrigerator as a space for this magnetic letters and numbers. It only cost me a few dollars to try this new product, but even without a coupon it would be reasonable.

All you need is the new Betty Crocker Shake 'n Pour cupcake mix (there is also a funfetti flavor mix and a brownie mix). Just follow the instructions on the back: Add water, shake and pour. Its super easy; you can see why this was perfect for a toddler. I would highly recommend watching them carefully in the pouring stage. Trust me.

To frost, I used a new product from Duncan Hines called Frosting Creations. I've seen them before, but I tend to prefer my own frosting to canned, but for $1 with a coupon, I had to give it a shot. You take the plain frosting and add the flavor powder you choose. They have quite a few flavor options too. The frosting is very smooth and easy to mix, so once again, perfect for the younger set.

I think the regular box mixes are a bit better, flavor-wise, but this one was still pretty good and the cake was really moist. The best part, it was really easy for JJ to do mostly himself and he had a lot of fun doing it.

 Shake, shake, shake!! This is the fun part

Of course you have to lick the spoon! (We had a spoon because he poured a bit too much and had to do a little batter transfer!)
Checking the progress

 Can you tell which ones JJ did?
 Always clean up after yourself!

 Enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The 1st Amendment, hypocrites, and a damn good chicken sandwich

OK, so today is one of those days where I get to use this platform to rant about something I feel needs ranting about. I would like to preface this rant with the following statement first, though:

I am pro-gay marriage. I am so pro-gay marriage, it's ridiculous. I have a lot of gay friends and they are some of the nicest, most wonderful people I have ever met and I am so glad they are in my life. I don't look at them as "my gay friends" they are just "my friends" like everyone else. I think it is absurd that gay marriage is even an issue. Why do you care if two guys get married? or two girls? In what way does that change your life and what you do on a day-to-day basis? There are gay couples all over the US who are married right now and guess what? nothing changed in your life. The sky didn't fall, the ground didn't start shaking and your life didn't end when they said "I do." Someone in my office recently married his boyfriend and I didn't even know it happened until after the fact. Wanna know why? Because it didn't effect me in anyway except for my happiness that he is in love and loved and has a partner for life. Just like I do with my hubby. Good for him. People need to leave these such situations alone. Seriously. If people are gay, let them be gay. Stop whining about it. There are so many other things to be upset about in this world. Honest-to-God terrible things that demand our attention and solution much more than if my friend Steven and my friend Erick decide they want to go on a date. (For the record, they don't even know each other. Though they are both amazing people.)

I would also like to add, pre-rant, that I am a Christian. A God-fearing, Jesus-following, Bible-reading Christian. My Faith is a HUGE part of my life and I believe if Jesus were on Earth right now, he'd be saddened by the judgement we seem to feel as our responsibility to pass around. And that judgement goes in both directions.

That all being said, I'd like to weigh in on the recent Chick-Fil-A controversy. A recap (in case you've been living under a rock): Dan Cathy, the CEO of Chick-Fil-A, came out in a statement against gay-marriage and the public backlash has been severe. That is where I take issue. Mr. Cathy never said he hated gay people or that he wouldn't serve gay people or that he wouldn't hire gay people to work at his restaurants. He has an opinion, just like everyone else in America, about a current hot button issue. The difference is, he is being publically lambasted for his views.

Is it not his constitutional right to have that opinion? Why is it OK for one person to say "I am for gay marriage" and not for another person to say "I am against gay marriage"? I'll admit I'm not a PoliSci expert, but I'm pretty sure there were no such exceptions made in the 1st Amendment.

One of the greatest things about this country is our freedom to express what we believe. Pardon the cliche, but we are melting pot of ideas and beliefs and that is one of the things that keeps our country going. We need people with opposing viewpoints to spark discussion about issues so we are all fully informed of what we believe and why. Do we really want to live in a society where people won't express what they think for fear of public derision? That is a sad day indeed.

Chick-Fil-A doesn't make anti-gay propaganda, they make chicken sandwiches, and good ones at that. It is ridiculous to expect that just because someone owns a business, they don't have political or personal opinions anymore. Mr. Cathy always believed the same thing and we were fine with his restaurant being "Openly Christian" so long as no one actually talked about it. That seems dumb to me. In-N-Out is also out of the Christian closet, going so far as to put Bible verses on their packaging. No one seems to have a problem with In-N-Out. I have a couple friends who call themselves Atheists, but they still love their double-doubles.

Do I agree with the stance of Dan Cathy? Not necessarily; I'm a hate-the-sin-love-the-sinner type of girl, and thank God for Grace because I'd be in trouble if people didn't extend me the same courtesy. But I do whole-heartedly believe that Mr. Cathy should be able to claim his views proudly and without such scrutiny and hate. Ironically enough, the people protesting against him seem more hateful in their statements than he did in his.

This isn't the first time something like this happened either. The same sort of thing happened with Kirk Cameron and former Miss California Carrie Prejean, and to some extent Tim Tebow. In Kirk Cameron and Carrie Prejean's cases, their Christianity was no secret when they were asked by their respective interviewers about their stance on gay marriage. In my opinion, this was a sneak attack. No one was really surprised by their answers, yet it stirred up controversy and gave the public court of opinion the opportunity to nail them to the wall. In Carrie Prejean's case, the question was asked by Perez Hilton and none of the other contestants were asked. You really don't think he knew what she was going to say? I don't have any specific knowledge of Tim Tebow's gay marriage opinions, but he's been mocked endlessly since he was drafted a couple years ago. He prays and thanks God after good games and plays. So what? Why do people care so much? He feels God has blessed him with a gift and he is thankful for that. We should all be so grateful for our blessings. I'll never forget the hype over his first Super Bowl commercial in 2010. Before it aired, he was ridiculed for daring to do an anti-abortion commercial. Guess what? It wasn't that big of a deal. It was his mom saying she was thankful that she continued with her pregnancy and had a healthy boy. Oooh... so controversial.... Watch any random episode of the show Private Practice and the one stock anti-abortion character is always ridiculed for her beliefs. Though she stands by them, so good for her.

We are supposed to live in a country where we are free to live how we choose and believe in what we want, as long it doesn't cause harm to others. We've demonstrated time and again, that that is not truly how people feel. People want to say they are accepting of all people, unless those people disagree with them. When Oreo posted a picture of rainbow filling in honor of Pride day, a group of ultra-conservative Christians were upset about it. They were more or less told to calm down by the same people who are now protesting Chick-fil-A. Hypocritical? Just a bit.

Our constitution gives us freedom of religion, not from. An important distinction.

In my life I have been blessed with many people from a variety of backgrounds, beliefs, and cultures and I feel like my life is all the richer for it.

Thank God.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The post I never wanted to write...

The plan was to chronicle my pregnancy journey from start to finish. I hadn't done that with my first pregnancy--though now I wish I had, even if just for comparison's sake.

My son turned 2 in February, which is about the time we started talking about adding another bundle of joy to the Weber household. We were (are) planning on a family vacation to Hawaii in August so we figured we'd wait until we got back. Around June, we decided to go ahead and start trying, figuring it would take a couple months to actually get pregnant. I had just finished my last birth control pack and it was our first month trying. When I was late the first week of July, I was shocked, but excited. I took a pregnancy test on July 7 and it was positive. I told my family on July 8 and that got the ball rolling because my sister can't seem to keep a secret (it's OK. I love you, Emily!). I took a few more tests over the next week and we made an "official" announcement to all our friends on Facebook on July 16 (because we all know it isn't real until it's been announced on Facebook! :0) ).

Unfortunately, but that Friday, July 20, I was in the Emergency Room at Cedar-Sinai. My baby was gone.

It is one of those things you think can never happen to you. It was every pregnant woman's worst nightmare come true and it was just as awful as you'd imagine it would be. I can't even express how thankful I am for my husband. I was a mess, a total wreck. He was my rock. He's the one who called the doctor for me. He's the one who sat with me (when they finally let him out of the waiting room!) and kept me smiling and assuring me it was going to be OK. My mom and dad and sister jumped in the car and came straight up (with a quick stop at Cold Stone first to pick up an ice cream cake. My family knows me too well :0) ). And I swear, you couldn't ask for better doctors and nurses than the ones on staff at Cedars. Seriously, the best.

At my follow up appointment yesterday, my doctor told me that 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. She also said that the majority of the time, there is no explanation. It is the body's way of noticing there is some sort of chromosomal abnormality that formed and the pregnancy would not last anyway if allowed to continue. The body knows what to do, it's pretty miraculous that way actually.

I don't know why this had to happen to me, to my baby. I truly believe God has a plan for everyone and everything that happens. I don't know what it was in the case, and I may never know, but I know whatever it was, He is helping me somehow.

The outpouring of support I received from my friends was remarkable. I was also surprised to learn how many of my friends had gone through the same thing, some multiple times. Old friends and new friends all reached out and offered a hand of comfort, a showing of love. For me, this is huge. Occasionally (OK, all the time), I deal with feelings of unimportance and inadequacy. No doubt feelings left-over from my middle school and high school days, the difference is, now I can deal with those feelings on a more rational, adult, i've-lived-a-little level.

I was overwhelmed with the messages of love and was reminded that a lot of really great people care about me, which is something I've been struggling with believing for some reason this year.

I also find comfort in the idea that my baby is in heaven waiting for me someday. And to my friend Britni, I love the idea that our babies are hanging out up there together looking down on their mommies :0)