Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Chatterbox

So, if you've read this blog for awhile (I'm sure there's someone out there who has), you may remember that we had a lot of concerns about JJ's speech when he was younger. He didn't really say much until he was almost two and even at that, he wasn't really putting sentences together or speaking coherently for sometime after that. He was even still hard to understand when he turned 4 back in February, but something had switched on at that point and he suddenly began speaking a lot better on his own. We even canceled his appointment to be evaluated with the school system.  After he was finally potty trained, he started preschool in April and it was a only a mere couple of weeks before we saw the difference. We could have conversations with him. He was speaking almost perfectly. It was amazing and I'm still in shock at how far he's come in such a short amount of time.  Just imagine if we had put him in preschool earlier?? (We couldn't; potty training is the worst)
 
Kathryn, on the other hand, is only 18 months and she seems to be talking up a storm (comparatively, anyway). She says lots of words and tries to repeat almost everything we say. She's been saying "thank you" and "let's go" for some time now. She recently added "give me that" to her repertoire, which isn't my favorite, but at least it's something! She says 'mommy, mommy, mommy' a lot. A lot. Usually when she's ratting out her big brother for doing something she doesn't want him to be doing. They generally play very well together, but sharing is a big issue, as one would expect. She is also really funny to watch football with. She likes to copy her daddy and she will clap and yell "Yay!!" and "Go, go, go football!" and "touchdown!"
 
Her speech level is likely right on point for her age, but comparing her to JJ at this age just makes her talking blow my mind. My little girl is pretty sassy, so I have plenty enough to worry about with her, I'm glad her speech isn't one of them! :)

Rainy Day Fun


So we don't get too much rain here in sunny Southern California, but lately we've been getting a lot of it. We'll have spurts of heavy rain and then nothing but cold. Yes, it does get cold her in SoCal. Maybe not as cold as some other places, but your body acclimates to the weather you live in, so yes, it is cold and we can say as much.
 
After the last bout of rain, JJ asked for his own umbrella. He wanted, with all the passion a 4-year-old can muster, a Baymax umbrella because he is obsessed with Big Hero 6. Of course, there really isn't much as far as licensed products go for this new-ish movie, so we found this Spiderman umbrella instead. He also loves superheroes, so he quickly abandoned the notion of getting a Baymax umbrella and was quite pleased with his Spiderman one.


 
Naturally, after we bought the umbrella, it stopped raining. Yesterday, it finally rained again (just for a little while. It has, of course, stopped again). JJ was so excited to go outside with his new umbrella and play in the rain. He jumped in the puddles and just stood in awe of the rain. At one point I asked him if he wanted to go back inside. He sat next to me on the porch and said, "Not yet. I just want to sit and watch for a little bit." So we did.



Sibling love


In my effort to be a better blogger, I often forget to post about things I really want to post about.   This actually happened a couple weeks ago, just before Christmas.
 
JJ and I were getting ready to leave to do a little shopping. Kathryn was upset that we were leaving so JJ got down to her level and told her that she was going to be OK and that we'd be right back (he is such a good big brother!).  Then he gave her a hug.  She walked away and turned around and walked right back into his arms.
 
ME: Oh, you guys are melting my heart!
JJ: No we aren't.  We are hugging. That makes your heart bigger.
 
Melting. Melting all over the place.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

I won! I won! I won!

So, if you'll remember, last year was the first year I played Fantasy Football and I got 3rd place.
 
I played again this, in two leagues this time, and I got 1st and 2nd!  Can you even believe that?? First place!!
 

 
It's amazing how much you can learn about football just based on playing in a fantasy league. And watching the games helps too :0)  I love that this is something I can share with my husband now. He's always been into football and I never really cared much. Now, its another thing we can do together.

Monday, December 22, 2014

In this moment

  

Everyday you're on the go
Always some place to be
Another toy to play with
Another book to read
 
On the move.
 
Growing too fast, running from here to there
Gathering independence by the moment
You're laughter rings throughout the house
Lots of noise
Toys scattered everywhere.
 
But just for now you've stopped
You lay still, quiet in my arms
Calm
Listening to the sound of my heart beating for you
Hoping you're soaking up the moments the way I am.





Sunday, December 21, 2014

Here comes Santa Claus

Every year, Culver City PD comes around the neighborhoods with Santa so all the kids can meet him and take pictures and such. It's a very cool thing our city does. 

Last night was our neighborhood's turn and right when we heard the sirens from the patrol cars, we took JJ over to meet Santa Claus. He was looking forward to it all day. Of course when it came time to do it, he completely freaked out. He didn't want to have anything to do with Santa. So we walked back home.

I asked JJ why he was so scared. I reminded him that he was excited earlier in the day and Santa is going to go back to the North Pole. His response? "Maybe I should try again. I don't want him to go back to the North Pole." 

So we walked back to the sleigh and he was a totally different kid. He was laughing and singing and really excited to talk to Santa. 

Since I went back by myself, one of the guys with Santa offered to take our picture. He took a ton. His finger was blocking every single one. Ugh. I'm glad I decided to take this selfie!


I told him I was proud of him for going back. He said he was proud of himself too. :0)

Jingle Bell Rock

So on Friday night, JJ had his first school Christmas program and it was as adorable as you would imagine. 

JJ's class sang Jingle Bell Rock, which has also been ringing throughout our house for the past couple weeks. 

We were supposed to stay for a spaghetti dinner afterwards (which we had already bought our tickets for), but the show started 30 minutes late so by the time the show was done, so was Kathryn. 

Hint to all preschool directors planning Christmas programs: don't plan for a bunch of 4 year olds to do a program starting at 6:00 the day after a full day of school. Also, do a sound check.

Other than that, it was pretty great and I'm a proud mama!




Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Blogging Anxiety

I started this blog almost 5 years ago and I've gone through spurts of consistent blogging. Then I've gone through spurts of not-so consistent blogging. I tell myself every year that I'm going to be better at keeping it up and every year I fall short. I start to feel anxious about the response.

The thing is, even if I think of something to write, my first thought is "no one cares about that." So I usually just let it go. The funny thing is, I follow a blog called The Sonia Show (I've written about it before). It is one of my favorite blogs and I really look forward to her posts. Is she writing anything earth shattering? No. Is she thought-provoking and controversial? Not really. She is just writing about her daily life in San Francisco with her husband, her adorable son, and dog named Homer. Reading her blog is like chatting with a friend. She's funny and sometimes makes stand-up comedian like observations, but when it comes down to it, she's just writing about daily life for her. And I eat up every word.

So why would I view myself any differently? Why would I assume that no one wants to read my blog about random things when I love reading someone elses? I think I am way too focused on the statistics page and how many people read each post. I know I will get about 2 readers for posts I don't share on Facebook and about 40ish for posts I do share. I rarely, if ever, get comments. But still, whenever I abandon a blog idea, I feel a little sad. So for you, my two readers, I will continue and try better to keep up the posts.

Friday, September 12, 2014

New bathroom!

This was a long and arduous process, but I am beyond happy to report our newly remodeled bathroom is finally done! 
We knew we wanted to redo this bathroom when we first bought the house and the fact that it's here now is still a bit hard to believe. We saved and saved for this so we are thoroughly enjoying it! 
We ended up knocking out our closet and building two new ones. It's a bit less closet space, but it's easier to use and much better! And besides, it's probably about time I got rid of some of my old clothes anyway!
It went from tiny, ugly, outdated, and inefficient:

To bigger and beautiful! (And my bedroom is more organized than it's ever been! Bonus!) 


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Back the Badge (or at least try to find a balance)

Today my heart is sad and heavy. This is a topic that is close and personal to me and I have a lot to say on it. My goal in this particular post is to try to be as calm as possible, because I could easily let my emotions get away with me. I would say I will try to keep it brief, but that’s a promise I don’t know if I can keep and I can only hope to try to unscatter my thoughts before putting pen to paper (so to speak), so that what you read isn’t just a jumbled mess of thoughts.  Here it goes… (for the record, this blog is not about race or the Ferguson situation specifically, that is another post for another time)


I will assume, dear reader, that you are not someone who lives under a rock and that you are aware of the situation in Ferguson, MO.  If you don’t know about it, you can continue reading, but you should educate yourself about current affairs.


In Ferguson, a police officer shot a teenager. That’s what it all boils down to. There are exactly two people in the world who know exactly what happened and one of them is no longer alive. No matter what the news reports or what your friends post on Facebook, nobody else knows exactly what happened. Plain and simple as that.  There have been a lot of opinions on the matter and even though many of them have been debunked as more evidence comes to light, they are still flying around. If it did happen the way it was initially reported, then sure the officer should be punished, but it isn’t at all clear that it did, especially the more evidence that comes out, and I think it is ridiculous that nobody seems even willing to consider the fact that perhaps the officer is telling the truth. His is a completely valid scenario. Police officers have the right to defend themselves just like everyone else.


And that is what brings me to my main point. Right after the shooting, my Facebook feed (and I assume yours as well) was filled with people sharing posts about the white officer murdering an unarmed black boy. When the autopsy came out and disproved many of the so-called witness statements, those same people were not sharing those stories. Why not? As a journalism major, the lack of fair and balanced coverage of news is appalling. We live in an era of social media which has become a whole new source of the news. Everyone is a “citizen journalist” and should abide by the rules of Journalism 101. These days it seems more important to report first regardless of facts. If a story that has been shared online has been updated with more accurate facts, sharing the updated story is the responsible thing to do. It keeps things fair and balanced. To combat bias, both sides of every story need to be presented accurately and it is our job to make sure that happens, to hold the media to that standard.


On that same vein, if people are only sharing the stories about negative encounters with bad police officers, it further perpetuates the completely inaccurate portrayal of all police officers as horrible people hell-bent on ruining the lives of citizens. Guess what? That isn’t true at all. Are there bad cops? Of course, but the same can be said for any job or any profession. Does that mean they are all like that? No. I read a comment on a story about the protests going on in Ferguson. It said that the protestors are mostly peaceful. There have been a handful of outsiders coming in and being destructive and looting. The comment said that we shouldn’t lump all of the protestors together because they aren’t all bad. That’s a great way to think, but why does it stop there? Why shouldn’t the police in this country be given the same courtesy? I caution anyone against painting any group of people with a broad brush whether that be police officers, African-Americans, Christians, white people, Republicans, Democrats, etc. It is constantly being done and it is heartbreaking. But I suppose it makes the news more exciting to divide everyone into their neat little groups, doesn’t it? If we all got along, then what would they do?


So, in a valiant effort to provide a more balanced portrayal of things, here are some facts and stories I dug around the internet to find:

• In the past 10 years, 1,501 law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty. That is one cop killed every 58 hours.
• In 2012, there were 127 officers killed in the line of duty.
• As of May 18, 2014 (less than half the year, mind you),  there have been 42 line of duty deaths
• most police officers never fire their weapon in the line of duty

Some news stories I encourage you to read:


On August 15, 2014, a Lakewood Sheriff was violently attacked when he responded to a domestic violence case at the mall. Note that the suspect was “unarmed” when he bashed him over the head with a blunt object and kicked him repeatedly in the head.  Unarmed does not necessarily mean not dangerous.


Roberto Sanchez was an LAPD officer whose vehicle waspurposefully crashed into. Again, the suspect was “unarmed” in this situation.


Here are just handful of the many, many stories about officers killed in the line of duty or some just because they were police officers. Some of these incidents were simply results of what the officer thought was a routine traffic stop:  Christy Lynn Hamilton (LAPD)Kyle Dinkheller (LCSO, Georgia)James Capoot (VPDNorCal)Darrell Lunsford (Nacogdoches County, TX)Timothy Brenton (Seattle PD).


There are hundreds of stories just like these. I would encourage you to read about them and even Google some of the happy police stories. Get to know the job a little more before you start critiquing and criticizing something you don't really understand. Make a police friend and ask questions. It could help a lot.


Imagine if anytime you had a job to do, there was the risk of someone shooting you or killing you. The next time you want to give a police officer a hard time for trying to do his or her job, just remember that they deal with the crap that nobody else wants to. They are the first responders to places like Sandyhook, they are the ones who respond to murders and homes with beat up wives and children. They see the dark and ugly things in this world that we can’t even imagine, things you can’t unsee. Ever. The job they hold deserves a certain amount of respect that they don’t get. Please be helpful and courteous and respectful. They really do want to help. They really do want to protect and serve. They are not mind readers and they are not your personal servants. Many of them have families. Unless you are a criminal, they are not out to get you. They are trained to see things in a way most people don’t, so let them do their jobs. Don’t assume they are all dirty or bad or however you see them in TV and movies.


And say thank you from time to time. I’m sure they don’t hear it enough.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Football time!

It's that time again!!
 
Last year, I joined the hubby's fantasy football league. Turns out, I'm not terrible at this and I ended up getting 3rd place overall. Not to shabby. 
 
Well, it's that time of the year again and I'm back in. Actually, I'm in 2 leagues now (pressure's on!). My friend Heather started up a girl's only league (because the guys can be a bit dramatic, you know).  So, I've got my magazines, I'm doing my research and I'm gearing up for football season.
 
There was a time not too long ago that I would never have said those words, but I can honestly say, I'm a fan now. Let's do this!


Monday, August 11, 2014

Practice Makes Perfect

don't mean to say that our first kid was our practice kid, but there are many differences that come up in how you parent after the first child. You learn lessons that maybe didn't work so well the first time around.
 
I'm not sure if JJ is just a naturally picky eater or what, but I can't help but wonder if we didn't somehow contribute to his reluctance to try new things. We gave him "baby" food until he was just past one. We didn't give him our food until it was too late, I think, and by that time, he didn't want new things. He wanted chicken nuggets or mac n cheese or grilled cheese. He spent his afternoons at his grandma's house and she would give him grilled cheese pretty much every day. 
 
He is 4 now and in preschool. At first we were sending chicken nuggets in a thermos for him, but that was kind of grossing me out.  He finally gave in and he eats a peanut butter sandwich (yes, it took him this long to be willing to do that), yogurt and a granola bar.  He's not much of a "foodie" but we have gotten him to the point where we make him try something first. We make the deal that if he tries it and doesn't like it, he doesn't have to eat it, but he has to at least take a bite.  The progress is painfully slow, but it is progress none-the-less.
 
Kathryn, on the other hand, is my 1-year-old foodie. She will eat pretty much anything you put in front of her and then some. She finishes her food and then comes to us and checks out our plates. She's worse than the dog, I swear. But she's adorable, so I usually give her a bite or two. The only thing I don't think she cares much for is beans because that is the only thing I've seen left on her tray.  The difference is, we started feeding her "regular people" food as soon as possible. We did baby food for awhile, but as soon as I could, I just gave her what we were eating (within reason, she only has 8 front teeth afterall).  Once her molars come in, all bets are off.  She's not picky in the least; sweet, savory, spicy even, she loves it all.
 
I don't know how much water my theory holds, but I'm just glad I don't have two picky eaters on my hands. Meal-time has been one of our most challenging times over the years with JJ.  He's also a slow eater too, so we've started setting a timer for him at dinner and that has made the biggest difference. He eats quicker now (which equates to a normal speed for everyone else) and dinner time is less stressful for everyone involved.
 
Any other tips for the pickiest of eaters, I'm all ears. So far all the staple pieces of advice don't really help much (he's pretty stubborn).  I can only hope by the time he's in college, he's eating more than just chicken nuggets.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

My Baby Girl is One!!


So because there was a video involved i didn't make on my phone, I
apparently couldn't do this blog from my phone, which I tend to do. I
guess technology has its limits.  I had to wait until I was on my
computer to add it and because I've been a good little writer, I've been
on my computer more working on some stuff (yay!)



So anyway, my little baby girl turned one on June 27.  She has been such a
joy in our lives. I know it's only been a year, but it is still sort of
hard to remember our lives without her! She fits into our family so
perfectly!



Thursday, June 12, 2014

Throwback Thursday: It's All Coming Back to Me Now

So,
 this song came on and it took mewaaaay back! I had to look it up online, because it couldn't have possibly been thatlong ago, but apparently, it was. 18 years to be exact, back to 1996.
 
I was, and still am, a huge Celine Dion fan. The girl can sing my grocery list and I'd be happy. She was a staple on the radio in the 90s and I ate up every note she belted from her tiny Canadian self.
 
It's All Coming Back to Me Now is on the album Falling Into You, which was one of the first CDs I ever bought (along with Ace of Base The Sign and Amy Grant House of Love from a Warehouse in Bakersfield when I was 12-years-old). I was all about this song in particular, pulling out my hairbrush microphone and lip syncing like my invisible Grammy depended on it. At around the 5:15mark, Ms. Dion busts out a "Baby, Baby, Baby" that was goosebump-inducing. The song was sooo long too! Clocking in at around 7-1/2 minutes, this was the song you wanted on when your crush asked you to dance.
 
I was born and raised a Country fan, but Celine Dion is still very reminiscent of my youth. When this song popped up on my iPod, it took me on a nice trip down nostalgia lane, and I promptly popped in my Celine Dion Greatest Hits CD and rocked out, 90s Top 40 style.  

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Confessions of a 30-year-old YA Addict

I've always been an avid reader, and I don't say that flippantly. I mean from the time I started reading just before kindergarten through my Nancy Drew stage to this day, I've
 always been reading something or another. I read a lot of different genres too. I enjoy everything from Janet Evanovich to Gillian Flynn and beyond. My tastes run the spectrum from F. Scott Fitzgerald-type classics to cheesy Nicholas Sparks romances, formulaic cozy mysteries, and psychological thrillers like Gone Girl, Reconstructing Amelia, and Before I Go To Sleep.
 
While many women my age dove head-first into the steamy waters that were stirred up by authors like E.L. James and Sylvia Day, I couldn't justify reading 50 Shades of Terrible Prose just to get some sort of erotic fix that I didn't really think was missing in my life. I read enough and that was too much. Although, I think you could probably make a drinking game out of how many times Anastasia says some iteration of "Holy crap" and that could be fun.
 
I have another genre that I get really excited about. I have a special place in my heart for Young Adult Literature. I read them when I was the target age (The Outsiders, The Giver, Number the Stars, Little Women,Judy Blume) and I continue to love them now. I will admit to reading Twilight, which, while not written particularly well, wasn't terrible. I of course devoured Harry Potter,even taking an Honors English class on the boy-wizard in college (best. class. ever.).
 
But then came the rash of post-apocalyptic teen dramas and I was hooked at the first Reaping Ceremony. Katniss Everdeen entered my life and I have no regrets. I wasn't happy at all with the last book for a number of reasons, but that's another blog post for another time. I just finished reading the Divergent trilogy and it only took me a week to read all three. I felt like I had an addiction and I couldn't wait for my next fix. That Veronica Roth can sure spin a yarn, let me tell you. And what's even better is that, even though the plot was really good, it was also really well written. She is a fantastic writer. And I'd like to personally thank her (because you all know she's totally reading this) for using words like "Abnegation" and "Dauntless" and "Erudite". She's not afraid of SAT words and doesn't dumb down her text because her target audience is younger. Our country could handle a little vocab expansion.  The next book(s) on my list are Maze Runner and The Fault in Our Stars.
 
A lot of the YA lit that's out now, and not just the end-of-the-world stuff or the SciFi stuff, is not just soapy teen drama (well, maybeTwilight was. And the love story in Divergentreally got to me because I'm a total sap), it is complicated and nuanced. The authors are telling great stories and, for the most part, telling them well. They are making commentaries on the state of our world, and while I don't think we will ever send our youngsters to kill each other for sport or divide into factions based on one single trait, they serve as a metaphorical warning. I think they also provide a keen insight into the human condition as seen by teenagers who haven't yet been jaded by real life like many of us cynical adults. While adults are necessary to make plots more realistic, the teens have to take center stage because they are more open to possibility and hope than adults are.
 
My affection for YA is not limited to literature. I also watch the movies and TV shows they spawn, giving life to these stories about high schoolers with the responsibility of the world on their shoulders, who are far better looking than anyone I've seen in real life high schools (or real life. Seriously, Theo James, who looks like that!!?). Are they always good? No (I'm talking to you Tomorrow People), but sometimes they are (Vampire Diaries, The Originals. Teen Wolf on MTV is probably the best of the bunch. Dylan O'Brien is one to watch. He's got a career ahead of him for sure). The Hunger Games  movies have so far been quite good; however, if I were Veronica Roth and the Divergent movie that is in theaters is what resulted from my original novel, I would not be happy. But again, another blog for another time. I also enjoyed Beautiful Creatures, which is also a series I have not read, but I don't think the critics much cared for it.
 

I read recently that 55% of YA literature is sold to people over the target market age, so I guess it's good to know I'm not alone laying my hopes for our post-apocalyptic world in the hands of a bunch of good-looking teenagers.
 
I love having a book list, if anyone has any recommendations, YA or otherwise. Send 'em my way!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Ellen!!!

So, about a month ago my sister-in-law sent me a text asking if I wanted to go see The Ellen Show. 

Um....??? Heck, yeah I do!!!!!!

We, along with two of her friends, trecked over to Warner Bros. studios on Thursday and saw the live taping of Ellen's show. It was sooo much fun! And quite a workout with all the sitting and standing and, oh my gosh the dancing! So much dancing!!

It was a great show (the audience got a copy of a DVD of the guest Ice Cube's movie Ride Along!), I made nice new friends, and I had a great day! I would love to go see her tape again! 

Be kind to one another. :0) 


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Preschool: All the cool kids are doing it

So, on April 2, JJ started preschool and I've been a mess ever since. I mean, seriously, my baby started preschool! This isn't just some little class we signed him up for; this is it. He's in school now for the next 20 years of his life! It's been a week and a half, but I still have trouble wrapping my mind around it.
 

I of course am projecting all my worst fears as a parent (does he have friends? is he behaving? is he learning anything? I could on and on), but the reality is, he is doing great. He loves school. He doesn't want to leave and he can't wait to go in the morning. And he's making friends. He's a very friendly kid anyway (I anticipate a lot of parent-teacher conferences  for the foreseeable future about him talking too much. He can't help it; it's in his genes!), but the first day we dropped him off, we left him making the rounds: "Hi, I'm JJ. What's your name?" he said to one kid. "Hi, I'm JJ. What are you drawing?" he said to another. Today, Gary told me that when he dropped JJ off, he introduced a friend of his named Sarah. Gary double-checked that that was in fact her name, and it was. He was also asking the kids if they had magic. (He's been watching Once Upon a Time with us, so it's sort of been on his mind lately.)


 
He has a hard time out-right telling me what he learned in school, but he will start randomly talking about things or asking us to play certain games that are obviously from something he got at school. Yesterday, he was pretending to build a house and then told Gary that he was the big, bad wolf and needed to blow the house down. Clearly they read a certain piggy-tale in circle time. He already has a very active imagination, but his creativity levels are threw the roof in such a short time.
 
I still worry about him, but now that I've met his teacher (timing was off for a few days), I worry less. She's great with him and assures me that he is doing well, especially since he's never done anything like this before. I will never not worry about him in school, but in the meantime, I'm loving what it has already done for him. 

And the unexpected best part? Seeing Kathryn get so excited when her big brother comes home from school :0)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Play Ball!!

Today Kathryn had her 9 month check up and when I came home, I pulled into the driveway to the sight of my husband and JJ playing catch in the yard. I gotta say, it totally melted my heart to see such a great father-son moment! These are memories JJ--and Gary--will have and cherish for the rest of their lives.

The whole time we were out there playing every time someone would walk by, JJ would be sure to tell them hi. And if they had a dog, he would ask "what's his name?" And say "he's cute!" At one point a woman was jogging and as she came around the corner, he ran over to her and said "hi" and jogged right along side her until she passed our house. It was adorable and she was really nice about it. This was the kid we were so worried about never speaking more than a word or two only a year ago! I loved watching the whole scene unfold! I am so ridiculously blessed by this quickly-growing little boy!


(Hands-on learning)

(Cheering on the boys!)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

For the love of all things pink & sparkly...


So, the theme for this season of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (don't judge me) seems to be "labels" as in "don't label me," which is something Carlton must get paid extra for each time she says.
 
I normally don't side with Carlton when watching my guilty-pleasure show because she's about 50 shades of crazy, but in this case, I think she's onto something. We live in a society that loves to label. We seem to need to put people in boxes so that everyone is neatly organized with some sort of black & white, either/or stereotyped definition, but it doesn't work that way. People--most of the people I know, anyway--are not that clearly defined.
 
I am a girly-girl and I always have been. This is a controversy that seems to be really popular these days. I feel like I'm seeing articles and blogs everywhere! For some reason in the blogosphere, it has become not OK for girls to be girly. I understand that people are taking issue with advertisers pandering to gender stereotypes, but I'm not going to lie: If those girly Legos had come out when I was a kid, I would have been ecstatic! The problem is, the bloggers and whoever else are up in arms about the Pinkification of toys are treading dangerous water. In their rally cry about not having pink and blue toy aisles, they are coming across as saying if you like the pink stuff, that is wrong. A modern girl should want to play with regular legos and if you play with dolls, you are a silly twit.  Girls shouldn't be playing dress up, they should be playing with chemistry sets.
 
But why? Playing with dolls fosters creativity and imagination. Who's going to argue that's a bad thing? Why can't a girl put on a frilly dress-up dress and those plastic "heels" andlook through her magnifying glass? Is there something wrong with having a tea party with your friends instead of building a tower with blocks found in the gender neutral aisle at Target? No one is going to fault my son for playing with his Jake and the Neverland Pirates action figures, but if my daughter is into Barbies, it's almost as though she is failing her gender, but really, the basic activity is the exact same, right?
 
(on a side note about tv shows. PBS tends to show a lot of gender-neutral shows and both my kids like them. Disney Junior has a nice variety of shows for both genders and neutral. My son love Mickey and Jake, but he also asks for Sofia the First and Sherriff Callie and Doc McStuffins [who is a wonderful addition to pop culture for other reasons]. My daughter is only 8 months, so she is stuck watching whatever is on, but she always seems really into Jake along with the other "girly" shows.)
 
My brother and sister were the athletic ones; I was not blessed with that gene! I was into drama and music. I had a box of dress up clothes and would put on "shows" in the backyard. When my dad and brother would play roller hockey in the driveway, I always started off the game singing the National Anthem. I still have two huge boxes of Barbies and more boxes of American Girl dolls and accessories from my childhood that I plan on passing on to my daughter. I love pink and purple and sparkles. I love to do crafty things. I appreciate beautiful clothes and shoes and purses.
 
But I also read. A lot. I have aspirations to become a writer (if my self-confidence issues would just kindly get out of my way). I am college-educated with a job I do well. I'm a smart girl. I enjoy action movies and football. I like to think in another life I could have been a secret agent (another life where I was Jennifer Garner, perhaps. There's that imagination again...). Another example: My sister-in-law works for the water department. She's college-educated and chemistry-smart. Educators are always saying that girls need more S.T.E.M. education; well, Carley has that. She also wears a bright pink hard hat to work.  Another? I was raised by a mom who was a police officer who used to carry her Glock in her Dooney & Bourke handbag. 
 
As my daughter gets older, I want her to know that it's OK to walk the line. She can be whatever she wants: girly and smart and sporty and... and... and... She can be the next President of the United States and wear a pink sparkly dress to her inauguration, if she wants to. Or she can be a teacher or chef or a secretary or a CEO or a stay-at-home mom.  
 
I get what these bloggers are saying, I really do, but I think in their aggression, they are fostering an "us" vs "them" mentality and that is just wrong. They are also leaving out the most important argument and that is you can be whoever you want to be and you can be into whatever you want to be into and no one has the right to tell you that you are wrong for liking something. Toy makers should offer "boy" toys and "girl" toys and "neutral" toys. Your kids know what they like, regardless of what advertisements are shown and you know where to find those toys. If your or my children's interests happen to lie within gender stereotypes, then so be it. Telling a girl she shouldn't like pink is just as bad as telling a boy he shouldn't like pink. The point is, we should be more concerned about raising good, kind people who are productive members of society than about what color their toys are.

(And now for a gratuitous picture of my little princess, because why not?)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Big boy bed

When JJ was born, we bought him one of those lifetime cribs. A couple weekends ago, we did the final conversion and now he has his official big boy bed. And he looks so little in it. 

When did my baby become a real little kid?!?!



Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Our 4-day weekend (that took me 4 days to write about)

Oh how I love a 4-day weekend! Despite having a full weekend, I felt like I got a little mini vacation!
 
I took Friday off to prepare for JJ's Superhero 4th birthday party (side note: my mind is still reeling at the fact that he's 4. He keeps telling me that he wants to be 100! Slow down, kid.) I don't know why I've never done that before. I spent the day making his cake and cupcakes, cleaning, putting the finishing touches on the gift bags, and making a couple superhero-themed foods like Kryptonite Krispies (green rice krispie treats) and Hero sandwiches (get it?).
 
Friday was also Valentine's Day, but we didn't really get to do that. Gary got me a box of chocolates on Wednesday because he saw them and knows me all too well. He ordered flowers and the delivery people sent him an email saying they were delivered, but I have no flowers. Either they lied or some chick out there stole my flowers. He called the next day and spoke with a terrible customer service rep and supposedly got his money back. I'm working on a strongly-worded email to the company now. (**ahem**Teleflora**ahem**).
 
Saturday was the big 4th birthday shin-dig. We did a Superhero theme because like most 4-year-old boys, my son loves them. We had food, balloons and I took the easy route and got a bounce house. Oh my gosh, it was the best decision ever. All I had to do was NOTHING! I set it all up online and two guys came (early!) and set it up. It took like 5 minutes. Then when the kids got there, the entertainment took care of itself. I had made capes for all the kids to wear and they got my husband and brother-in-law and his girlfriend in the jump house too. Then they made up some sort of game. I'm not sure the rules exactly, but it involved teams and the capes as a source of their powers. They all had a blast though.  Everyone left the party around 4:30/5:00 (at which point JJ sadly proclaimed that his friends didn't want to come to his party anymore and we had to explain that sometimes parties end. He may or may not get that from me a little bit). The bounce house was scheduled to be picked up at 6:00 and because 5 hours of jumping wasn't enough, he got right back in until the last minute. Another party success! P.S. JJ has been wearing his cape ever since. He was a big hit at Costco.
 
Sunday was a very relaxing day. My parents and sister came up to hang out for a little while since they couldn't make it to the party and JJ told them all about it. Later in the evening, Gary and I got to do our delayed Valentine's date. We did drinks and appetizers (because hungry girl over here needs to eat) and saw Robocop (I know what you're thinking: could we get any more romantic??), then we went to BJ's for dinner. At 9:30. Dinner at 9:30? What do we think we are? Young!? Then we went home and went to bed because we remembered we aren't young and could sleep in because the kids were at grandma's.
 
Gary wanted to take advantage of the fact that I was home with the kids on Monday and power through taxes with his mom. I picked them up and spent the day with them at home, something I always love to do and wish I could more often. We played, we folded laundry and then I got stuck on ancestry.com. Oh, the time suck that thing is! We've so far been able to trace Gary's family back to 1674. I'm going to see my parents on Saturday and see if we can't fill in the blanks a little.
 
I was also very domestic and made baby food for Kathryn and roasted a chicken for dinner! I also finally updated the photos I have on the walls in our house to include Kathryn. It's been 8 months, so I suppose we are keeping her around. She deserves her place on our hallowed walls. Welcome to the family, kid; you're stuck with us now :0)
PS: Use a Bundt pan to roast your chicken. You're welcome.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

My On-Again-Off-Again Relationship with American Idol is Back On

remember when American Idol first started. It was on during the summer after I graduated high school. It wasn't all that big of a deal at the time, since it was so new. I didn't even watch most of the season, but I do remember watching Kelly Clarkson win and then thinking "A Moment Like This" would never stop being played on the radio. I bought her CD when it came out and I was hooked. I've been a Kelly fan ever since.
 
Fast forward a couple years to my college friends and I would have American Idol nights and all get together to watch the show. This was in 2004 so I'm thinking season 3? Anyway, that was the year Idol and I started to drift apart. I think I may be the only one in the world, but I thought Fantasia was terrible. I couldn't understand why the judges were so in love with her voice. If you remember, this was also the year the Jennifer Hudson was elimated in 6th place (what the what?!) and William Hung became a thing (God help us all). I ended it with Idol.
 
It's really too bad I chose to stop watching after that season, because the next season (4) was Carrie Underwood's year and of course who doesn't love her? My decision to stay separated was validated, however, when Taylor Hicks won season 5 (though I do like Kellie Pickler and Bucky Covington who came from this season).
 
I decided to give Idol another chance in season 9. It was a shaky reunion, for sure. I thought there was some decent talent. Although nothing came of his win, I thought Lee DeWyze was pretty good; I'm kind of a sucker for the gravelly-voiced rockers. I didn't think there was anything wrong with Crystal Bowersox, but every time I saw her, I thought it looked like she hadn't showered in awhile, which sort of grossed me out. Overall, it was a mediocre season at best. Same with season 10, although I loved having Steven Tyler as a judge. This season saw the best contestants go too soon (Casey Abrams and Pia Toscano) and Scotty McCreery's win was justified I suppose, but his coronation song totally creeped me out (I love you this big... really? You're not 4 years old). Season 11 introduced Colton Dixon and Philip Phillips into my life, which was not a bad thing. 
 
Even though Idol was clearly making an effort to make our relationship work, I had to break it off again a few episodes into season 12. As much as I love me some Keith Urban, I was so sick of Randy Jackson by that point and Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj are just ridiculous. I couldn't handle it anymore; it was over.
 
When they started advertising for season 13, my heart leaped with joy. Randy Jackson was gone! Keith Urban is back along with Jennifer Lopez! And the best news of all since Kelly Clarkson won: HARRY CONNICK JR WILL BE A JUDGE!!!!! I couldn't handle it. I just think he's the bees knees. And after only a couple episodes, he has not disappointed. I think all three judges have really good chemistry (especially Harry and Keith, who crack me up every episode). I love what Harry Connick Jr brings to the table. He obviously has the musical knowledge and he's honest without being mean, a la Simon Cowell (who I admit, I actually liked). He told a 15 year old girl to sing age appropriate songs; he's not impressed with vocal gymnastics when they aren't necessary; he stopped the one joke audition (which used to dominate the show and have been all but eliminated now) and told him that the contestant was disrespecting the process and the people who work hard to be there and take it seriously. Go HCJ.  
 
So my Idol relationship has resumed. The only request I would like to make this season would be for the contestants to stop saying they've been watching the show since they were 3 years old. It makes some of us feel really old.