Friday, December 20, 2013

Image Make-Over

Let's face it, you guys, Christianity has gotten sort of a bad rap lately (thanks goes to the Tea Party as well as the Anonymity of the Internet!). It could just be where I live in California, but I hear it a lot. There is a lot of lambasting of Christians and Christianity that I don't think is always called for. Christianity isn't the only religion who takes heat, of course, but since it is a mainstream religion and has a gazillion followers, it gets a lot of press.

Google (how I love you, Google) has a function where it predicts your search based on popular other searches that begin with what you are writing. It's all very techy and I don't get it, but look at what happens when I start to type "Christians are" and "Christianity is"

That's not very flattering, is it? I would have thought there would be a nice mix of positive and negative searches, but nope. All bad.

Also, if you read comments on online news stories, you'll see some pretty nasty stuff. I know, I know, most of these people are fueled by the faux courage that comes from having an internet persona, but still, stuff like this is what is being said:

"Then one sunny afternoon, a couple of elders stopped by the house to talk to me about how much I was dropping into the collection plate. I had been tithing 10% of my take-home pay. But they reasoned since we lived in a big fancy house on a hill and since my mother drove a Cadillac and given that my parents paid for my food and clothes, I should be contributing more. In essence, it was a shakedown. I never went back. I WAS born again and got a bill for my trouble."

"I just saw a news story about a Salvation Army bell ringer who was assaulted by a woman who was upset that the bell ringer wished her Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. How could such a good Christian woman take offense at something like that?"

"Or look up organizations that helpvictims of Christian upbringing: Homeschooler's Anonymous and No Longer Quivering are good places to start."

"Most religions are little more than cults, and evangelical sets of anything are thinly veiled cults."

"Why should I live my life according to some book that I think holds no value other than being a bunch of stories?" 

"would you please point out the "Christians" - I just see bigots, racists, and haters - are those the "Christians" you are referring to?"

"the word Christians, bigots, racist and haters are all interchangeable."

This makes me sad, especially since there is something we can do about it. I think we need to take a stand and give Christianity the Image make-over it deserves. Jesus was all about loving and we need to be that too. Not everyone is going to believe in God or follow Christianity, but we need to make it so they don't have such nasty things to say.

It's OK for people like Phil Robertson to express his beliefs, but I think it is important to watch how we express them. We need to choose our words carefully and speak from a place of love. We aren't perfect and should never claim to be. We need to be the change that silences those who are bigoted in the "name of God."

Let's be the person Jesus expects us to be and save the judgment for The ONE qualified to hand it out.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

2013 In Review

I started the year off super sick.  I got a cold in December, and not one of those sniffly little colds either. This one kicked my butt. I was about 3 or 4 months preggo so I couldn't take anything and I was laid up on the couch for at least a week. On New Year's Eve, Gary woke me up at 11:55, we rang in the new year (sans kiss, because I was a contagious mess) and I promptly went right back to sleep.  I feel bad for him because he was just stuck at home with a sick wife and didn't even get to do anything fun. Sorry, babe! He took really good care of me though, because he's pretty awesome like that.
It was also during this month that we found out our little bundle of joy was going to be a little girl. This was sort of a big deal in the Weber family because it was sort of believed that the Weber genes were sexist :0)  My husband comes from 3 boys, his older brother has 2 boys, our first was a boy. you get the idea.  News of our little girl caused much joy (and shopping opportunities for me!)
Our little guy turned three in February and celebrated with his friends at his Jake and the Neverland Pirate's themed party. It was at this time that he decided, much to my chagrin, to stop taking naps. We also converted his crib into a toddler bed and that began a few months of a rigorous bedtime routine of us putting him down and him getting right back up every ten minutes for about an hour or so. I can't even count the number of times I left for work in the morning (around 4:45am) and found him sleeping on the couch with one of my "Friends" DVDs playing on the TV.
We also hosted a Super Bowl party this year because our beloved 49ers were playing. It was a good game and the party was fun, but we don't want to talk about it. Even though the party was a good time, I learned that I prefer to do my Super Bowl celebrating at someone else's house.
This month we signed JJ up for preschool. He is currently on a waiting list for Fall 2014. I spend a lot of  time thinking about this and stressing (will he do ok? Can we afford it?).  He is really so smart, I know he could do well in school. He just really needs the socialization and structure that comes with preschool.  OK, I'm moving on because I'm starting to stress again.
In April I spent my 8th year working with the Academy of Country Music for their annual awards show in Las Vegas. It was a bit of a challenge to do all the work (and there's a lot of it) while 7 months pregnant, but everyone was super supportive and I had a blast yet again. I still can't believe I've been doing this for so long! And while I was gone my amazing husband did a TON of work on the house, including new door knobs and painting the baby's room. Last year while I was gone, I came home to central heating and air. So I suppose as long as there's work to be done on the house, I should keep going to Vegas every year, right? :0)
For my birthday in 2012, I got a Disneyland pass. JJ and I became weekly (or more) regulars at the park. I absolutely loved spending that quality time with him and will cherish those memories forever. The pass was set to expire in June and I was getting way too pregnant to be going all the time, so in May we took one last family trip to the park. Gary had never been to California Adventure, so we spent the afternoon there. My parents joined us and kept JJ entertained so Gary and I could go on a "big kid" ride. We couldn't go too crazy, so we rode California Screamin'! Haha, just kidding :0) We chose Soarin' Over California. I'm sad that my pass had to expire, but that day was a great way to end our year-long Disney adventure and I have memories to last a lifetime. I can't wait for Kathryn to get a little older so we can do it all again!
This month we also discovered the reason I was so darned uncomfortable during this pregnancy. Baby girl was in transverse position, which means she was sideways in my uterus. We really needed her to keep moving along so she could be in optimum head-down position. The doctor briefly mentioned c-section, but reminded me that would be a last resort. She had every confidence that the baby would move into position and all would be well. We began praying.
A few years ago, my mom gave me a box with my old Fisher Price play kitchen and all the goodies that come with it.  This month we took it out of the attic and set it up for JJ. He took to it immediately and still likes to "cook" for us. It has been so fun watching him enjoy a toy that I loved so much as a kid.

Prayers were answered and the baby moved (yay!) so at that point it just became a waiting game. I started my maternity leave about a week before I was due, which is pushing it a little. I was so ready for Kathryn to come out into the world! She took her time and was three days late, but on June 27 little Kathryn Grace joined our family and quickly took her place as the little sister. She has been such a blessing. She is always so happy!
July was spent bombarding Facebook and Instagram with pictures of the new baby and the cuteness of sibling love. We also went to Travel Town, which was fun-ish, but I was a bit disappointed. I wish there was more to it. We also took in my parents' piano which was a huge addition for us. We've been talking about getting a piano in the house for years, so this was perfect. JJ loves the "pinano" and I can't wait to teach him how to play.
We also began packing up my parents' house (my childhood home) and moving them into their new house in Orange. This was very bittersweet for me. I will miss my old home and they are farther away now, but they bought a house they love and fits them to a T. I'm so happy for them. And I love their new neighborhood!
In August we took JJ to see his first movie: Disney's Planes.  He had a bit of a struggle sitting still, but overall I thought he did very well. I was sure we were going to have to leave the theater.  He seemed to enjoy it, but not as much as Cars, which I think I can agree with. I took him to see Frozen later in the year and he sat through the whole thing really well. Although, that was a far superior movie!
Taking advantage of being on maternity leave, we took a trip down to San Diego. We went to the zoo (which was way bigger than I remember) and SeaWorld (yes, I've since seen Blackfish. No, I don't want to talk about it.).  We had a lot of fun and JJ really enjoyed seeing all the animals. Kathryn was such a trooper, and a great traveler.
At the end of August, I did the completely unexpected and joined Gary's fantasy football league. I was completely overwhelmed by the whole process, but as it turns out, I'm pretty good at this. I'm now in the playoffs competing for 3rd place this week. Wish me luck!
In September before I went back to work, Gary and I packed up the kids and made the drive up north to visit the "Half Moon Bay Webers." Gary's oldest brother and his family live up there. JJ got to spend some time with his cousins, we went to a farm and picked some fresh fruits and vegetables, and we got to see family that we don't get to see often at all. It was a really fun weekend that will need to be repeated (especially now that we have a new car that will make the drive a lot more comfortable!)
At the beginning of the month, I started a Foodie club with some of my friends. Each time we meet, we bring a themed dish and the recipe. We've only had two meetings so far, but it's been a lot of fun and I can't wait to resume after the holidays.
I sadly had to go back to work this month. It's a good thing I really like my co-workers because that made it a lot easier, but I miss my babies every day. I love that I get off at 1:30 so I still get to spend a lot of time with them.
This month Gary and I celebrated five years of marriage. We went to The Palm, which has become "our place" over the years.  Gary also surprised me with an afternoon at the gun range! I've always wanted to go! And I did pretty well, if I do say so myself! He knows me so well and I really couldn't have picked a better person to take this life journey with me.
Kathryn started to roll over this month and has never looked back. She is currently trying to stand up even though she can't. I have a feeling this girl is going to be a force to be reckoned with.
We finally finished the worst refinance process ever on our house. We started this all back in July and had one headache after another trying to finish it up. When we signed the papers this month, we finally breathed a sigh of relief that it was all over. We celebrated by trading in my 10-year-old Corolla and buying a more family friendly Ford Escape. I absolutely love my new car! It was sad saying goodbye to my Lola though.
And that brings us to December, which has been full of the usual holiday busyness. This is my favorite time of year and I wouldn't want it any other way. Gary is going to San Francisco to watch the 49ers in their last home game ever at Candlestick park. I was a bit uneasy about him traveling so close to Christmas (he comes home Christmas eve!), but I know how much this means to him. We will be spending Christmas Eve with Gary's family, Christmas morning with our family, and Christmas day with my side. We don't have plans for New Years' Eve yet, but we'll play it by ear.
I just had my annual review at work and it was glowing. I am truly thankful for the job I have and so appreciative of the wonderful things my coworkers had to say about me. The year-end bonus and the raise was nice too :0)

This has been a great year. We've had a few frustrations, but nothing we couldn't work through. We saw our family grow with the addition of Kathryn, we watched JJ come leaps and bounds from where he was at the beginning of the year with his speech (he's so smart sometimes, it just amazes me!), Gary worked his tail off with the whole refinance experience that took way longer than necessary but ended up better in the long run for our family, we spent a lot of time with family and friends. My cup truly overflows! I can't believe how blessed I am to have the life I have and I can't wait to see what's in store for us next year!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Friday, December 6, 2013

So here's a random post about dads

So I read this article that a friend shared on Facebook the other day and as I was reading it, something about it really didn't sit right with me. I read for a while and the whole time I was thinking that I really didn't like this woman's story but I couldn't quite figure out what it was. Then I got it.
First off, I will concede that parenting is exhausting. Kids are bundles of energy and the older we get, the less energy we have. The scales are not balanced, but what are you going to do?  But this woman really seems unhinged. She seems like she's really depressed and about to snap. The more I read of her blog, the more I thought she really needs to seek out a licensed therapist. Seriously.
But that isn't what really struck me about the article. What really struck me was that, from the get-go, the premise of the article is that moms need help. Um, isn't that what dads are for? I understand that there are single moms and that isn't what I'm talking about. Single-mom is a whole other category and yes, they do need help.
The woman who wrote this post is not a single mom. She has a husband. Does he do nothing around the house? I get that he has a full-time office job, but that doesn't mean he gets to come home and lounge around. Does he not help her at all? Does he not see that she is physically and mentally burned out to the point of almost beating her children? If he does and isn't helping, then he's an ass. If he genuinely doesn't see it, then she needs to sit him down and tell him that she needs him to contribute. Hey maybe he can take care of the kids for a minute while she gets dinner ready. Or gives one of the other kids a bath. Or puts away the laundry. Or, heck, maybe he can put away the laundry. Maybe he can unload the dishwasher.  I don't understand why he's not helping.
Or maybe he is helping. If that's the case, then why doesn't the article mention that? Why does she completely remove Dad from the equation?
That got me really thinking. Why is Dad so often removed from the equation? Recently Huggies came under some scrutiny because they started an ad campaign starring everyone's favorite cliché: The Clueless Dad. A few dads chimed in and Huggies did a 180 on their campaign. Kudos to them, though, for keeping the Dad angle of the ads, and showing that hey, guess what? Dads aren't complete morons.
Not many other companies have followed suit though. Even consumer products behemoth Amazon.comlaunched a new service a few years ago called "AmazonMOM." Um, why just Mom? Why not AmazonFAMILY?
Yes, I understand that moms are quickly becoming advertisers favorite demographic; studies show they have a lot of purchasing power. Between the rise of the "Mommy-blogger" and the often media-fueled "MommyWars," I think Moms and their roles in the family have become something of a hot topic. Unfortunately, I think Dads role has been overshadowed a bit in the meantime.
I know moms have a so-called "mommy instinct" but dads can have that too. Maybe moms and dads take care of their kids differently, but they do TAKE CARE OF THEM. True story: I work out of the home, my husband works from home. He spends a lot of time with the kids without me around. Guess what? They are both clean, fed and happy by the time I get home at 2:00. Sometimes he even does the dishes and he always takes out the trash. Shocking, right? No. That's what we do. We help each other.  Once I year I go to Vegas for work. He has the kids all weekend. And you wanna know why I don't worry? Because he's their dad and he's not an idiot. One time I was gone and our son got a really bad stomach flu. Did Gary run around like a chicken with his head cut off, freaking out about a sick kid? No, he took JJ to the pediatrician and gave him pedialyte. Oh and did I mention that he had the stomach flu also? I didn't have to hop on the next plane out of there (although I almost did anyway because, come on, that's my baby we're talking about and I'm not made of stone!)
If I'm ever feeling overwhelmed by housework after a long day at the office, guess what I have to do? ASK HIM TO DO SOMETHING FOR ME. A novel concept, I know.  And you know what he does when I ask? HE DOES IT GLADLY!
Sitcoms have a long history of portraying the clueless man who doesn't know the first thing about kids, playing their idiocy for laughs. The news is full of stories of the deadbeat dads who left their families or don't pay child support.  Trust me, I know bad dads. I know there are dads out there who are nothing more than sperm donors, but there are also moms out there who are nothing more than incubators.
I love that moms are getting respect for what they do (working or stay-at-home), but I think we shouldn't be so quick to throw dads under the bus and we should be more willing to give the good ones the credit they deserve, and there are a lot of good ones out there.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Loud Noises

Yeah, so my kids are loud. Our house is always filled with noise. I know everyone thinks they know that kids are loud, but you can't fully appreciate the magnitude of the noise until you have two tiny humans living in your midst.

JJ, my late talker, is more than making up for lost time. Now it seems like he never stops talking. And he can be kind of a spaz sometimes, so he's usually really LOUD too. He hasn't quite mastered the "inside voice" yet, though when he does whisper, it is really adorable for some reason. To be clear, I love talking to him. The mind of a three-year-old is amazing. He makes us laugh and he cracks himself up (which is also very loud). I really do love listening to him talk and play and love life so much, I just wish he'd do it at a lower decibel sometimes :0)

Kathryn is all of five months old. She's never really been a cryer or fussy baby, except when she decides that she's suddenly hungry in that particular moment and the minute it takes to make her bottle is just a minute too long. The girl's got a pair of lungs and will use then against you for sure. Over the last month or so, she's been "talking." I remember when JJ hit this age and it was a lot of adorable babbling. This is not the case with Kathryn. She's a shrieker. She is super adorable and has the biggest smile imaginable, so you know she's having a good time, but she shrieks. I'm just saying, if Steven Spielberg needs to record sounds for any new Jurassic Park movie, he's welcome to come listen to Kathryn for the afternoon. 

Don't get me wrong--I love the sounds filling my house. They are usually the sounds of laughter and happiness (even from my little Kathryn-osaurus), and watching/listening to them laugh and play together melts my heart everytime.

But sometimes, every once in a while, this mama needs some peace and quiet.