Tuesday, December 18, 2012

do something

Friday mid-morning, the news out of Newtown started to trickle across my orbit. Admittedly, at first I just blocked it out. The news outlets are so reactionary, I just hoped they were making a mountain out of a molehill. (I knew better.) Honestly, after the mall shooting last week, it just seemed like too much for my brain to deal with in that moment. I pushed the news monster out of my brain, shut the door, and sat down in front of it.

I went to a lunch meeting, and came back to my facebook feed flooding with post after post of shock, confusion, and condolences for Newtown. I had missed so much in those 3 hours. I quickly was brought up to speed, and my first reaction was drive the 40 minutes to my babies and scoop them up.

One of my favorite quotes about parenthood says "Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." (Elizabeth Stone)

Truer words have never been spoken. I was aching for my boys, yet my brain new there was no reason for me to react in this manner. They were right where they needed to be, and so was I.

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I've never been so affected by a tragedy as I have been by this one. It's likely because I'm a mom now, and my kids are so little. I couldn't help but wake up misty-eyed on Saturday, just to have my kids in my house, all twenty toes wiggling and accounted for. There were (and are) 20 families who will never know that peace again. 

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I didn't watch the news at all Friday night or this weekend. I couldn't handle it. They had a news conference on Saturday morning that was blaring on the tv when we first turned it on. We couldn't find the remote. I was searching like a madwoman for the remote so I could change the channel to Jake and the Neverland Pirates or something equally mindless. I said "Joey, we have to find the remote, I can't take listening to this any more!" Finally I just shut the thing off.

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Finally Monday morning, I was ready to know their names. The littles who lost their sweet, innocent lives. I didn't want to know his name, and I still don't know his last name. I have this displacement theory in my brain, that if I can fill it with sweetness about these peanuts, there's no room for evil. I only want to know as much as their families are willing to share. I'm praying the information and photos I see of them are given with permission. I think I read once, in a different situation, that it helped a grieving family to say their child's name. I want to give these names a face in my brain, to send silent thoughts to their parents that they did matter. Also, their teachers and administrators. Heros.

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I'm angry about this. I don't understand all of the whys and hows. I don't know what specifically needs to be done to stop this from happening again. I think it's a combination of a lot of things. Better control on weapons (yes, I know a moving car can be turned into a weapon, but there's no reason citizens need assault rifles); better support for mental health (MUCH BETTER SUPPORT FOR MENTAL HEALTH), including support for the families of those who are ill; more compassion from society (let's stop hating on each other, we're all in this together). 


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This isn't about politics. I grew up with guns in my home. Nearly all of my family and many, many of my friends are hunters. This isn't about animals. This is about the safety of my kids, and my friends' kids, and the kids who lost their lives last Friday. Again, I'm not a weapons expert, I'm not a psychologist, I'm just a mom. A mom who is sick to death of seeing this happen again and again. We can disagree on the minutia of what needs to be done - I'm ok with that. All I want is for the conversation to continue. I don't want this to fade into the darkness like it has so many other times. This is the tipping point, the status quo isn't working, and it's time to do something.

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Many are circulating an idea of 26 acts of goodness. I love this idea, and truthfully have been a major slacker about sharing my time, talent, and treasure this year. Twenty six though? Is kind of overwhelming. There's no time limit, though, and you can make them as big or as small as you want to. Here's a few ideas to get you thinking, but I want to hear your ideas. Especially simple ideas - we can all come up with big ideas, but what are some small things?
  • Donate blood
  • Make a contribution to your favorite charity in the name of one of the innocents
  • Write your congresspeople - demand change, whatever that means to you
  • Smile at someone who really needs one
  • Pay for the order of the car behind you at the drive thru
  • Fill a backpack with necessities for a homeless person (blanket, socks, flashlight, etc.) and give it away
  • Donate a meal to the food bank
  • Volunteer - anywhere
  • Read - especially if you're not a reader. Research. Find solutions.
  • Tell someone you love them
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Wherever you fall on this situation, please, do something. I have to believe that we're all in this for some common good. Our futures - and those of the kids looking up to us - are riding on this.

Friday, December 7, 2012

friday five

  1. I can tell I'm going to have a bit of a trouble with the white lies of parenthood as the boys get older. We have an Elf on the Shelf named Oliver. He appeared about a week ago; sometimes we remember to move him, sometimes we're lazy. He's fun and B loves him. Before the Elf, there was Santa Claus. And I'm sure at some point there will be the Tooth Fairy. (But not the Easter Bunny. A giant person in a bunny suit just creeps me out.) My issue isn't so much the lying to my kids that these people are real. Or the fact that the elf story can be kind of creepy if you go there with the storyline. (He's sent from Santa to monitor the household leading up to Christmas, making sure the kids are good, and reports back to Santa before Christmas Eve. If the kids touch him, he loses his magic and has to fly back to the North Pole for Santa to restore it.) My issue is that I'm such a literal person. Like I want to know that it's 5:37, not "20 'til 6:00" or 5:35. So the whole idea that there's this plastic doll that flys back and forth to Santa to get magic, just makes me a bit twitchy. Joey and I both grew up believing in Santa, and while we absolutely believe that Jesus is the real reason for our season, we adore the fun and awe that Santa brings as well. I'm just not sure how to wrap my mind around all of this fakery for the kids' sake.

  2. I ran a half marathon in May. It was lovely (really), and I was proud of myself, and vowed to continue running forever. In fact, I signed up for another half in October near my hometown. Then it was really hot in the summer, and we put our house on the market, and we moved, and training didn't happen, and neither did the race. We've now settled in the house a bit, and I need to find some time to hit the road again. It's almost time to sign up for the Lincoln half marathon (who wants to join me?! Sign up is the 21st, and it will sell out fast! Unless you want to do the full, then you can sign up tomorrow.). Tra-la-la... yay running.

  3. Remember when I quit sugar last spring? My eating has gone the way of my running, and I'm back on the IQS bandwagon. It's so much easier when I'm running though because when you feel better (from running), you want to eat better.

  4. In that vein (because most kettle chips are sugar free), I just opened a little bag of "Krunchers! Kettle Cooked Potato Chips". You know what they taste like? (I can't even believe I'm admitting this.) They taste like the uncooked potato "chips" that come out of the box of scalloped potatoes. Please tell me I'm not the only one who has tasted these... I think I pin this on my mom, we sampled them when I was growing up. Anyway. Point being: they're fine, but thick and taste like an actual potato. You are welcome.
     
  5. (This is quickly turning into a post about food) I like to cook. I'm not exactly a chef (my husband chuckles to himself as he reads this, I AM SURE), but I can wing it well enough to make most things turn out. However, Joey is really kind of picky. He's also very honest - if he likes it, he'll say "it's good!" if he doesn't like it, he'll say "it's ok!". Add to that a 3 1/2 year old who is getting skinner by the day because he won't eat anything unless it starts with chick- and ends with -uggets. And Jude eats everything, but then sometimes he just refuses. So basically, dinnertime is like Russian roulette around our humble abode, and I never really know if something will work for my gentlemen or not. I tried two new recipes this week and they were MAJOR wins for Joey and I. Brecken refused them both (claiming they were both too salty - he means spicy), and Jude was crabby this week from switching daycare, so he went to bed right after dinner time - lo, he didn't eat but I don't think he was a fair judge.

    Anyway - they are delicious, and I think, customizable enough to your own family's likes in terms of spice as well as toppings for the tacos. Also: EASY. Seriously we were done with dinner by 6pm both nights and that never happens around here.

    Crock Pot Beef Carnitas Tacos
    Spicy Sausage Skillet - we used andouille sausage but mild Rotel and it did have a teensy bit of a kick. BUT I am a giant wiener when it comes to spice and I thought it was perfect.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

perseverance

Brecken got this Fisher Price baseball set for his 3rd birthday this past March. (It's been a big hit (pun intended) if anyone is still Christmas shopping...) For the longest time, he's played with it as a tee-ball set (there's a tube that sits on top of the base) - he'll prop the ball up on the tee, and let it play the baseball music and then swing away. Obviously he was on his way to the tee-ball hall of fame.

It was so nice out this weekend (68 in December!) and we ventured outside to run off some energy. He dragged his baseball set out for the hundredth time in 9 months, and this time he wanted me to set it up so the ball would pop up out of the base. I sighed, because usually this involves him never-hitting-the-ball and me running around collecting the loose balls from the yard.

I was wrong.

My boy has a little bit of perseverance now. Where I would normally get discouraged after all of the swings and misses, he kept going, and going.

{obviously the snow boots were giving him major fashion points}

He kept up with this forever. At one point we had to abandon the game so we could take Jude inside to nap. He begged to come back outside. 

Then finally, after about a half an hour of swings and misses, he randomly connected - we all screamed like he'd just won the World Series. 

Then he hit it again, and again, and again. He figured out his timing, and he was awesome. At one point, he hit it on our roof, and several times he hit it to the neighbor's yard next door. He never once got frustrated by the misses, but oh how PROUD of himself he was when he finally started connecting with the ball!

Of course I broke out my camera again too late - and we got a lot more swinging...


But finally - chance was on my side, and I got my budding Babe Ruth on camera:

{yes, he totally said touchdown!... potato potahto}

All in all, he probably swung the bat for an hour on Sunday afternoon. Momma's learning a thing or two about patience from this little dude. I'm sure it won't be the last thing he teaches me.