Archives for December 2010

Just This

In the end, we will remem­ber not the words of our ene­mies, but the silence of our friends.  -Mar­tin Luther King, Jr

Mamavation Monday: Week 1

So, after read­ing Heather’s Mama­va­tion posts for a year, I’m jump­ing in.  I hope I’m doing this right!

Last year some­where in the mid­dle of Jan­u­ary, I decid­ed to get seri­ous about my health.  I want­ed to eat bet­ter, exer­cise more, and feel bet­ter over­all.  I made a few changes and got myself a jour­nal and every­thing.  I was at the right place and ready to feel bet­ter.  Then, about 4 days lat­er, I start­ed to feel yucky.  Real­ly yucky.  All day long.  At first, I thought I was get­ting sick.  Then, after feel­ing so yucky with no oth­er symp­toms for about a week and a half, I took a preg­nan­cy test.  I was preg­nant!

The “morn­ing” sick­ness start­ed at about 3 weeks preg­nant and stayed with me well into my 24th week of preg­nan­cy.  Dur­ing that time, I ate what sound­ed good when it sound­ed good.  I didn’t cook much.  I did alright with exer­cise, but most of the plans I’d had for myself last Jan­u­ary flew out the win­dow.

I had my beau­ti­ful baby boy in Octo­ber.  That was about two weeks after mov­ing into a new house.  I also have three and five year old boys.  To this point, I feel like I’ve done a pret­ty good job mod­el­ing healthy eat­ing behav­iors for them and giv­ing them healthy view­points of eat­ing, exer­cise, and tak­ing care of their bod­ies.  But, right now I have to be hon­est and say that I wor­ry about the exam­ple I set for them in being over­weight.

Right now, I’m not so con­cerned about what the scale says.  I’m nurs­ing right now.  Also, in the past, I’ve found that if I’m mak­ing healthy choic­es and exer­cis­ing my body gen­er­al­ly responds by let­ting go of extra weight.  It’s not easy for me, but I wouldn’t describe my body as “hang­ing on to the weight” or any­thing like that.  I do have a 2 month old though, and I would love to do all that I can to min­i­mize our chances of being sick dur­ing cold and flu sea­son.  Increas­ing fruit and veg­gie intake, decreas­ing sug­ar intake, and exer­cis­ing are three keys to that goal for me.

His­tor­i­cal­ly, I am able to iden­ti­fy some fair­ly con­sis­tent areas of strength and weak­ness when it comes to mak­ing healthy liv­ing choic­es and los­ing weight.


  • Fruits and veg­gies-  I like them.  Lots of them.  I don’t have a hard time find­ing either fruits or veg­gies or recipes for them.
  • Water-  I like water, and I drink quite a bit of it.


  • Sweet tooth-  I have a major sweet tooth!  I am one of those peo­ple who could eat like Will Farrell’s char­ac­ter on Elf.
  • Mod­er­a­tion-  I’m not great at mod­er­a­tion.  I’m great at avoid­ing some­thing com­plete­ly, but then when I go back to eat­ing or drink­ing it “in mod­er­a­tion,” mod­er­a­tion gen­er­al­ly means more than what I should be hav­ing.

My goals for this year:

Lose 20 pounds at which point I will reassess and deter­mine a rea­son­able goal weight.

Run a 5K.  I would love to do this in May, but in the past I’ve had a hard time build­ing sta­mi­na past the 2 mile mark.  My goal is to do this in 2011, but if I can do it by May that would be even bet­ter.

Sched­ule myself time to exer­cise 5–6 times a week.

I Am Worth It

I Am Worth It

Pho­to via Red­vers on Flickr

Yes­ter­day I relax­ing after our Christ­mas cel­e­bra­tion, and for some rea­son a co-work­er from many years ago popped into my head.  He was some­one I worked with before Jason and I got mar­ried while I was going to col­lege.  Dur­ing the time I worked with him, I alter­nat­ed between think­ing he was fun­ny and enjoy­ing his com­pa­ny and think­ing he was annoy­ing and count­ing the days until either he or I quit.  We didn’t have much in com­mon, and he had a way of say­ing things that got on my nerves.  We were not close friends by any one’s def­i­n­i­tion.

One day, (I have no idea why) the con­ver­sa­tion turned to whether or not Jason and I were “shack­ing up” before we got mar­ried.  We were not, and I told him that.  He was some­thing near incred­u­lous when I told him that.  He said some­thing like, “Jason is miss­ing out on a lot of fun!”  I remem­ber look­ing at him and say­ing, “He’ll wait.  I’m worth it.”  He didn’t have much to say after that.  Need­less to say, I’m guess­ing the con­ver­sa­tion didn’t go at all as he had expect­ed.*

Jump­ing back to the present, I am now mar­ried to Jason (for 8 1/2 years), and the moth­er of three amaz­ing boys (5 years, 3 years, and 2 months).  I got to think­ing about whether or not I still believe that I’m worth it, not so much about wait­ing for the shack­ing up now but for putting my own needs and some wants at the top of the list.  If I need to sched­ule time away from my hus­band and kids for exer­cis­ing, am I worth it?  Am I worth it if I real­ize that I no longer have any pants that fit and just a few shirts?  If I decide I want to work on get­ting more fruits and veg­gies (which are more expen­sive than some of the oth­er options at the store) into my diet, am I worth it?  Eight and a half years ago, I would have smiled and told you firm­ly that of course I am worth it.  Now, I’ve slipped com­plete­ly into mom/wife-ness, and I will tell you I’m worth it as long as it doesn’t affect my hus­band or chil­dren too much.  Of course I’m worth it, but…  If you’re a par­ent or a spouse, I’m guess­ing that most of you will admit you’ve been in this place at one time or anoth­er.

This isn’t a New Year’s res­o­lu­tion post.  This is more of a post-baby, life is set­tling down in the new house kind of post.  So, as it hap­pens to be New Year’s Eve in less than a week, I guess that this is a fine time to start some new habits, right?  I am going to start post­ing reg­u­lar­ly about my efforts to take care of myself.  In the near future, I see these posts cen­ter­ing around two main areas.  One is my phys­i­cal health.  The oth­er is liv­ing a life of inten­tion.

Tak­ing care of myself phys­i­cal­ly is some­thing I tend to over­look.  I had a (near­ly 10 pound) baby just over two months ago.  Before I got preg­nant with him, I was not at a weight I was very hap­py about.  I haven’t been exer­cis­ing reg­u­lar­ly for a while, and in addi­tion to affect­ing my weight, I think that I get sick more eas­i­ly and more often.  I’m tired of get­ting sick!  To do this, I’m going to be par­tic­i­pat­ing in the #Mama­va­tion Twit­ter cam­paign.  This is a week­ly blog­ging car­ni­val in addi­tion to reg­u­lar inter­ac­tion with oth­er like-mind­ed moms on Twit­ter.

Liv­ing a life of inten­tion is some­thing that’s been on my mind for quite a while.  I’m real­ly excit­ed to be a part of Amber Strocel’s Craft­ingMyLife upcom­ing course.  I’m sure I’ll be talk­ing about it, and I can’t wait for her to solve all my prob­lems and answer all my life direc­tion ques­tions.  🙂  (Just kid­ding.  I’m real­ly only expect­ing her to answer *some* of those ques­tions, not all of them.  Kid­ding again…kind of.)

So, as I move into 2011, I’m look­ing for­ward to the changes that putting myself on the list of pri­or­i­ties will bring.

A Mind Like a Steel Trap or My Dad Was Right

A Mind Like a Steel Trap or My Dad Was Right

Pho­to via John-Mor­gan on Flickr

I’m 31.  When I was in high school (1994–1998) it was right at the time Bill Clin­ton was being inves­ti­gat­ed and impeached dur­ing the Mon­i­ca Lewin­sky scan­dal.  I don’t remem­ber much about it.  To be hon­est, I real­ly wasn’t pay­ing much atten­tion.  What I do remem­ber is think­ing that Bill Clin­ton was bad.  Repub­li­cans were moral.  Democ­rats were immoral, irri­tat­ing, and excus­ing Clinton’s behav­ior.  I think this might have been the begin­ning of my move­ment to the right.  The polit­i­cal right.

In col­lege, I fell in with a pret­ty con­ser­v­a­tive crowd.  Many of my friends were self-iden­ti­fy­ing evan­gel­i­cal Chris­tians.  Many of them had grown up in both the church and con­ser­v­a­tive fam­i­lies.  This was not my back­ground.  My par­ents are Methodist, and they are both social work­ers.  They tend to lean left in polit­i­cal mat­ters.  One time when I was in col­lege, I was try­ing to explain some­thing polit­i­cal from my point of view to my dad.  He in turn was try­ing to con­vince me that my view­point may not be empir­i­cal­ly cor­rect or the only side of the sto­ry.  Because I was 19 (or so), had a dif­fer­ent point of view than my par­ents, and saw things pret­ty black and white, I was pret­ty sure he was wrong and didn’t have much inter­est in think­ing through what he was say­ing.  After the con­ver­sa­tion, he was talk­ing to my mom and said some­thing like, “She has a mind like a steel trap.”

I assume what he meant was that I wasn’t will­ing to open my mind to let any new ideas into it.  At the time I was sure that he was wrong.  He was wrong, wrong, wrong.  Of course he was wrong.  Wrong, right?

When­ev­er I didn’t know much about a can­di­date, I went back to abor­tion.  If I thought that abor­tion was wrong and there were thou­sands of abor­tions every year I had to vote for the par­ty who was work­ing to pre­vent that, right?  So, even if I wasn’t quite on board with the Republican’s thoughts on tax­es, edu­ca­tion, or anoth­er issue it some­how came back to black and white and abor­tion.  Even now as I explain, I’m hav­ing a hard time get­ting it out clear­ly.  I think at the time it wasn’t near­ly as clear in my head as I want­ed it to be.  (I got stuck at this point on the post for sev­er­al days.)  Now, sev­er­al days lat­er, I still can’t do any bet­ter at explain­ing that thought process than I could then.

Grad­u­al­ly, my views began to change.  First, I start­ed think­ing about the death penal­ty.  I had been in favor of the death penal­ty, and grad­u­al­ly I real­ized that I had begun to believe it to be incon­sis­tent with my val­ues.  While I real­ize there are times in the bible when the death penal­ty is insti­tut­ed, I think that there are so many things wrong with the way our soci­ety has insti­tut­ed it, I can­not sup­port it.  From the chances of exe­cut­ing an inno­cent per­son to the racial dis­par­i­ty in its use, I have many oppo­si­tions to it.  After I changed views on the death penal­ty, I began to think about oth­er issues.  One by one, I found myself real­iz­ing that the core of my being did not believe the views pro­mot­ed by the Repub­li­can par­ty and par­tic­u­lar­ly the Tea Par­ty move­ment of the GOP.

From the GOP’s move­ment from a pay-as-you-go phi­los­o­phy to a cut-as-you-go phi­los­o­phy to their oppo­si­tion to any sort of uni­ver­sal health care to their view of cli­mate change, I real­ized one day.  What the heck!?!?  I am not any­where near a Repub­li­can.  Gulp, in fact, I might be a…Democrat, and my dad might have been right!

I’m not try­ing to pre­tend like I sud­den­ly think the Demo­c­ra­t­ic par­ty is per­fect.  They have their share of peo­ple I’m not thrilled with.  They make deci­sions I don’t agree with.  They make mis­takes.  I’m hes­i­tant to label myself as any­thing right now, but I have to say my beliefs do fall much fur­ther to the lib­er­al side of the spec­trum than to the con­ser­v­a­tive side.

Don’t tell my dad.  🙂

Why We Are Reading “And Tango Makes Three”

I am a book lover.  My hus­band is also an adamant read­er.  For our birth­days this year, we both got Kin­dles, and we love them.  We have tons of books.  I only recent­ly man­aged to get rid of my last (out of date) col­lege text book.  The kids also have a lot of books.  In addi­tion to the books we have at home, we fre­quent our local library.

Although, I have to admit to say that “we” fre­quent the library isn’t 100% accu­rate.  Jason fre­quents the library with the boys, and I usu­al­ly go by myself.  A few months ago, Jason decid­ed that as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to get some one on one time with Kael, he would take Kael to the library on Sun­day after­noons.  Some­how that has changed from a one on one time for the two of them to a time for Jason and the two old­er boys to do some­thing togeth­er.  They often spend well over an hour there pick­ing out books, and they come home with the book bag absolute­ly stuffed.  It’s not unusu­al for our fam­i­ly to have over 20 books checked out from the children’s area.

One of the rea­sons that Jason takes the boys and I don’t is that he picks bet­ter books than I do.  I was a teacher before Kael was born, and I’m stuck in a rut of pick­ing out my old favorites.  Click Clack Moo, Stel­lalu­na, Hen­ry and Mudge.  They are great books, but I have a hard time get­ting away from books that I know I’ve read and liked.  Jason does a great job of explor­ing sev­er­al dif­fer­ent areas of the children’s library and pick­ing out a mix of fic­tion and non­fic­tion on a vari­ety of top­ics.  He also talks with the boys about books they’ve liked in the past and might want again or top­ics they would like to read more about.  Occa­sion­al­ly I make a sug­ges­tion, but for the most par­ty I just enjoy what they bring home.

The last time they went to the library, I did make a sug­ges­tion.  I sug­gest­ed that if it was avail­able Jason check out And Tan­go Makes Three by Justin Richard­son and Peter Par­nell.  If you haven’t heard of it, this is a children’s pic­ture book about two male pen­guins who hatch an egg from anoth­er pair of pen­guins and raise the result­ing baby.  It talks about how they want­ed to be a fam­i­ly and did things that oth­er pen­guin fam­i­lies did.  It also tells how zookeep­ers gave the two male pen­guins an egg to care for.  The result was a baby pen­guin they name Tan­go.

Why?  Liv­ing in ND, we don’t get a wide vari­ety of cul­tur­al expe­ri­ences.  It occurred to me one day that per­haps there is some­thing sim­i­lar in the lack of expo­sure to oth­er races and lack of expo­sure to oth­er fam­i­ly sit­u­a­tions.  This was prob­a­bly brought on by the blog posts I read on Ask Mox­ie this sum­mer about the book Nur­tureShock.  Chap­ter 3 of Nur­tureShock (which I have not read but have on my to be read list) is called Why White Par­ents Don’t Talk About Race.  The gist of the chap­ter (which I am sum­ma­riz­ing based on this blog post) is that if we don’t teach our chil­dren about the dif­fer­ences among peo­ple they make their own assump­tions.  Also, putting them in a diverse envi­ron­ment (which I feel unable to do) is not enough.  This chap­ter is pri­mar­i­ly about race and dif­fer­ences that chil­dren are able to see clear­ly and eas­i­ly when look­ing at oth­ers, but what if this extends to oth­er areas?  It is not okay with me for my chil­dren to form their opin­ions of homo­sex­u­al­i­ty and what it means based only on what they see in pop­u­lar media or hear from those around them.

For many peo­ple this might be a no-brain­er.  Of course you would talk to your chil­dren about this.  For some peo­ple this might be some­what con­tro­ver­sial.  Not just talk­ing about homo­sex­u­al­i­ty but talk­ing about it in a fac­tu­al way, attempt­ing to nor­mal­ize it for our chil­dren, and address­ing it in a way that allows our chil­dren to explore their own thoughts on it and con­tin­ue the con­ver­sa­tion over time.

Both my hus­band and I are Chris­tians.  We are rais­ing our chil­dren in the Chris­t­ian church.  It’s obvi­ous­ly not a big sur­prise to any­one that there are dif­fer­ing opin­ions in the church on homo­sex­u­al­i­ty.  We want our chil­dren to know a few things very clear­ly about homo­sex­u­al­i­ty.  If it turns out that one (or more) of our chil­dren are gay, we will love them.  Not we will love them any­way.  We will love them, peri­od.  We also want them to know that peo­ple are peo­ple.  We are called as Chris­tians to love our neigh­bors as our­selves, and some of our neigh­bors may be gay.  We love them as our­selves.

I start­ed writ­ing this post sev­er­al weeks ago.  It got put on the back burn­er as life got busier with the new baby, but even though this next para­graph isn’t as cur­rent as it was then, I still think it is appro­pri­ate and applic­a­ble.

When I start­ed writ­ing this post, there was a lot being said in the media about the recent sui­cides of chil­dren (some gay and some per­ceived as being gay) and col­lege stu­dents.  This is actu­al­ly what was on my mind when I wrote my last post about shar­ing opin­ions that might be more con­tro­ver­sial.  The pri­ma­ry rea­son I want­ed to write this post was because I don’t ever want to be faced with a sit­u­a­tion like the fam­i­lies of those kids and feel like I stayed silent when I had a duty to be unsi­lent.