Paper, cake, and travels.

and other things
I love
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Heaven Knows I’m Super Frazzled Now

In the first few days after Olivia came home I was basically walled off from social media, in my own little cocoon of sleeplessness and feedings and thousands and thousands of diapers. It was kind of like 2001 all over again, where the only way I knew what was going on in the world was the TV, or the phone, or actually talking to someone in person.  Hudson seemed to be adjusting well and even though dinner was pretty much Panera Bread every night for a week straight, I figured we were doing pretty ok. Excelling, even. I mean, everyone was happy, and Panera Bread seems like the “choosy moms” version of fast food. This mother of two thing? Not so bad.

But then one night I was feeding (Breastfeeding! Because I’m going that extra mile!) Olivia at 2 am and surfing Facebook in an attempt to stay awake. There were the usual pictures of people and their drinkssss!!! at the bar, the “I just ran 6 miles in 3.5 minutes!” app posts that make me feel even worse about still wearing (and fitting in super great!) my maternity jeans 4 weeks after delivery.

And then I started noticing the mom posts. One mom with three kids who works full time and “whipped up” the most beautiful Pinterest-y cupcakes for her son’s birthday. Another who had “tried her hand at sewing!” and made an adorable dress for her daughter that said daughter subsequently wore for their trip to the zoo. And lastly, a mom who put together a Jacques Cousteau day at their house, complete with educational books and dancing. Did I mention she has twins? THREE YEAR OLD BOY TWINS?

I thought back to what we did that day. Sure, we managed to get to the library when Olivia was sleeping, but when I asked Hudson if he wanted to read a book he shouted “No!” and began dumping out every toy bin in the play area. Attempting to make the trip educational, I tried to get him to name the different types of play food.  Mostly this just consisted of me reminding him that the “pizza” he was holding was not in fact real, and to please stop putting it in his mouth. For dinner we had macaroni from a box that I threw some broccoli in, half of which is probably still on the floor. The rest was kind of a blur. I think I did some laundry, which is probably growing moldy in the washing machine as I write this. Uh, be right back.

How are these other moms making it look so easy? I’m not going to lie,  I can’t even remember who Jacques Cousteau is. Renaissance painter? Famous French explorer? Celebrity chef on The Food Network? How am I supposed to teach my son anything when my winningest day is one where we do a puzzle together and I successfully remember the lyrics to a lullaby? (Not kidding-the other day I caught myself singing “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” as I was rocking a fussy Olivia to sleep. Nothing says “Cheer up, little one! The world’s a great place! quite like the lyrics of Steven Morrissey. Though I guess “Rock a Bye Baby” isn’t exactly “What a Wonderful World,” either.)

I guess something’s gotta give with two kids, and for a while that’s gonna be all my Pinterest-y, Montessori-school, stay-at-home mom ambitions. One day soon I’m going to make a cake shaped like the entire cast of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse just because it’s Thursday. And we’re going to have a day where we learn about Sandro Botticelli and paint our own pictures with little berets on. But right now I’m just going to be happy for the days where no one chokes on fake pizza and we all make it to bed at 11:00. And 2:00. And 4:30.

Please, Take Away My Right To Divorce!

Gay rights won a major victory in the polls yesterday, and I’ve been listening with interest to talk on both sides of the issue. Many who oppose the gay rights movement are Christian conservatives who do so citing “Biblical” grounds. According to them, a same-sex union is “against the Bible” and it has no place in a society that was founded on “Christian principles.” Now, there are a million ways to poke holes in this argument (the difference between religious and secular marriage, for starters) but for those that TRULY believe this, my sincere question is this: 

Why, if you want the “Biblical” definition and laws of marriage to be what we adhere to in this country, do you not protest the right to divorce?

According to what I was taught in church growing up, divorce is ALWAYS wrong, unless your spouse cheats on or abuses you. So if you’re looking to have the laws of our government reflect marriage as you believe Christ intended it, shouldn’t divorce ONLY be permissible in instances of infidelity or abuse? I certainly wouldn’t agree with your position on the issue, but I would at least be able to respect a little more of the thought process behind it.

That being said, I suspect I will never see a protest sign reading “I Believe in the Biblical Definition of Marriage—Please Take Away My Right to Divorce!” 

It’s a lot easier to deny rights based on “Biblical” beliefs when they don’t infringe on your own rights directly.

Looking forward to your comments.

Wavin’ My Rainbow Flag

The other night while I was up for a 3 am feeding with my son, I ran across someone’s intolerant, offhanded remark on Facebook about the “gay agenda.” Having some 500 odd Facebook friends, I expect and enjoy a mix of status updates, and realize a few are going to irritate me occasionally (you people who always post the vague and dramatic “Why is this happening?!” or “I don’t know why I even try!” posts just to get a response? You need to stop. Now.). Maybe it’s just the fact that I’m so hormonal that simply hearing the first three notes of “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)” will send me into a sob fest, but the post so upset me that I spent the next few hours writing my first blog in 7 months. So here is a little list of popular arguments against gay rights and my response. Yeah, take THAT, Mr. Bigoted Facebook poster.

 It’s a Choice

Remember that time at the seventh grade dance when you were debating about going after the girl that smelled like Designer Impostors Malibu Musk or the boy in the baggy size 28 insert-cool-jean-brand-of-your-era here? Yeah, me either. You don’t pick who you are attracted to, which is why I ended up with a guy who mumbles things like “We really need to get moving on that JQuery project” in his sleep. I can’t choose to be gay any more than a gay person can choose to be straight, and believing anything to the contrary is just plain ignorance.

It Violates the Sanctity of Marriage

Though it’s been on the wane for quite some time, I’m pretty sure the “sanctity of marriage” officially curled up and died the day FOX aired “Who Wants To Marry A Millionaire?” With divorce rates in the 50% range, 22% of us having affairs, and 95% of us having premarital sex, where does the straight community get off condemning anyone for anything in the committed relationship or sexual purity department? And as far as the actual sex part goes, I have been to the adults only section- I know some of the stuff you straight people are into, and it’s not exactly Lucy and Ricky wholesome. What people do in their own bedrooms is their own business, and as long as it only involves consenting adults, I wonder: Um, why is it that you care, exactly?

It’s Against The Bible

There is a reason our government was founded on the idea of separation of church and state, and civil marriages are different than religious ones. While you may choose to live your life based on the teachings of “The Good Book,” the United States government was founded as a secular institution. And please don’t get all Michelle Bachmann on me and say that the founding fathers were all exemplary Christian citizens with visions of America as some sort of Christian utopia….when they weren’t having affairs with their slaves or writing their own version of the Bible that leaves out the divinity of Jesus. Furthermore, and no disrespect to anyone’s belief system here, but if you think being gay is “against the Bible” have you read some of the other passages?! Like the part in Deuteronomy 22 when it says that a man who rapes a virgin must marry her (and pay her father) because he’s violated her? Or have you ever thought about the fact that some of God’s favorite people (Abraham, Solomon) have multiple wives/mistresses and God was ok with that then, but affairs and polygamy are all considered “against the Bible” today? If we’re going to be literal about the old testament we need to be literal about ALL of it…which means you need to stop wearing your husband’s old t-shirt to bed if you’re a woman and stop eating at Red Lobster, period, even during Endless Shrimp.  I don’t remember Jesus saying anything at all about gay people, but I do remember him saying “love your neighbor.” 

I think it’s fair to say that most gay people only want the same societal rights enjoyed by straight married couples, like tax breaks and health insurance benefits. I’ve yet to see any gay couples protesting on the steps of St. Whatever’s Cathedral because they can’t get married in a certain church; in fact, I strongly believe churches should be able to marry whomever they choose based on whatever criteria- my own parents were actually not allowed to marry in a few churches because of the unexpected early arrival of yours truly. It works both ways.

The Gays Are Trying to Destroy The Country with “The Gay Agenda”

To me, “The Gay Agenda” is kind of like Grimace of McDonald’s fame- we’ve all heard of it (him?), but none of us know what it is. There’s lots of negative talk about gays wanting to further said agenda, and the general consensus by FOX news anchors is that if this happens the country is going to go down in flames faster than you can say “Richard Simmons.” I think Barney Frank debunked the gay agenda mystery nicely last year when he described it as, and I paraphrase, protection against violent crimes driven by bigotry, the ability to get married, get a job, and to fight for our country. Nowhere does it mention trying to make everyone else gay or forcing people to watch back to back episodes of RuPaul’s Drag Race. See, now that’s not so bad, is it?

I Don’t Want My Kids to Learn About Gay People

Well, I don’t want my kid to learn about bigoted people, so we’re even.

Maybe that’s a little harsh. But like it or not, gay people have and will exist in the future. And so will lots of other people and things you may find even more unpleasant. Your child is bound to meet a few gay people in their lifetime, and like me, they may discover that (gasp!) they’re not much different than the rest of us, albeit often more stylish and better dancers.The best you can do is share your own beliefs with your child and trust that they stick—and hopefully the beliefs you choose to impart leave a message of love, tolerance, and acceptance of ALL people, even if we don’t always agree with them.

In short, the marriage of a gay couple down the road affects you about as much as…oh wait, IT DOESN’T AFFECT YOU AT ALL. If you don’t believe in gay marriage, attend a church that doesn’t preform them and don’t get one yourself- your beliefs and mine should end the minute they infringe on the rights of another.

Fact Check:

Premarital sex

Cheating

Jesus

But I’m adorable

In fifth grade, I was teased for not having hips. “I can’t wait for puberty” I’d think, dreaming of the day I could look like some of my more “voluptuous” classmates, who likely had recently graduated from their My First Playtex to a real AA bra. Then the summer came, and things…exploded, mostly in the right places, but some in not-so-right places.

I long ago accepted the fact that my abs are more Spring Break: Cedar Point Edition than Spring Break: Miami Babes. I don’t have calves. My nose has what I like to think of as an “European” bump in the middle. And no matter how many weights I lift, my body will continue to repel any form of muscle tone. Overall, not repulsive, but still enough to make me always go for the tankini with slenderizing panels in the mom section.
 
Recently my weight has hit numbers that would have previously made me immediately take up a tonic water and saltines diet. “It’s ok, you’re supposed to be gaining weight” I’d assure my newly pregnant self as I walked the track at the gym, secretly paranoid that the attractive man in the meathead section was eying my awkward middle and thinking, “Pick up the pace, fatty.”
 
Now that I’m well into second trimester, I’m beginning to feel that pregnancy is sort of like a bizarre second puberty. I’m back to wearing the same elastic-waist stretch pants and oversized tops that I wore as an 11 year old, though this time without the Mickey Mouse theme (not that that route is unavailable- Motherhood Maternity has a disturbing number of cartoon printed tops that I can only assume are for mothers who want to get a head-start on the mother/daughter matching outfit routine). My boobs have grown so much that I recently bought a bra in a size that I thought was only reserved for porn stars and people that have to be crane-lifted out of their homes to get out. And- hey, thanks estrogen!-  My face is breaking out like I’m 12 and my hair is…well, I’m back to a modified version of my 7th grade fro, but it’s not all bad.

 The best thing about my second coming of puberty is that EVERYONE THINKS IT’S ADORABLE. Sure, my mom shrieked “Oh my GAWD!” when she saw me changing the other day. And so what if my bestest guy friend in the world recently said “Wow, you look fat” when I was wearing what I had previously thought to be my most slenderizing maternity shirt? Overall, people think it’s “sooo precious” that I’m gaining weight, especially in my midsection. And if I’m shoving fistfuls of food into my mouth, I’m just “eating for two.”  Four hour nap? Yep, don’t mind if I do- I manufactured a placenta today.

So I’m trying to enjoy all the changes that are occurring, even revel in some of them. As my gay friend recently slurred to me over what was likely his 7th raspberry stoli of the night, “Pregnant women are sooo sexy.” Thank you, I’ll remember that as my adorable midsection and I reach for the what is likely the 9th or 10th cookie of the night- no one is ever going to think my size 34 waistline is this cute again.

I think I just blogged

My computer-nerd husband has been telling me I should “write a blog” for longer than I’ve know what the term “blog” referred to, which probably translates to about 2 years (as you will learn, I’m about as tech-savvy as your average medicare recipient, preferring to just yell “RYAN!!!” across the house and get immediate tech assistance rather than commit any such knowledge to memory). “I don’t have anything to say,” was my typical reply, though if you met me any time after early 1985 you will know that “nothing to say” has never been the case- I’m a born talker.

So, what’s changed? Well, basically, I’m having a baby. And suddenly I feel connected to humanity in this new, crazy way that somehow warrants sharing my thoughts with an anonymous internet audience. But before we begin, a few ground rules:

As the only courses I’ve been enrolled in since high school have been “practical” (read: nursing-related), my grammar/spelling/general writing style might be stuck in 2001. However, if you need an APA-style paper on Dorothea Orem’s nursing theory, I’m your girl.

I’m going to try my hardest to not turn into one of those incredibly boring people who only write about how cute yet frustrating it was when their child smashed peas into their hair during lunch. That being said, expect a lot of talk about being pregnant/how cute yet frustrating it is when my own child smashes peas into their hair during lunch. 

I’m not a very confrontational person, but expect a few posts that some people may find a little controversial. I can get more than a little passionate when talking about politics, religion, or topics such as gay marriage, and would love to generate positive discussion/debate. Keep in mind that if you are someone who has ordered a survival seed kit from Fox News or has ever uttered the words “Palin” and “President” in the same sentence without throwing up a little, we are unlikely to ever agree on anything. Ever.

If you have a blog I can subscribe to, I’d love to hear about it. I’m not sure how I would actually go about doing this, but I’m sure Ryan could figure it out.

~Andrea