Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Let Kids Be Kids

Tonight on TV I ran across a child beauty pageant. I only watched it for a moment, so I can't really tell you much about it, but it appeared to be some sort of mother-daughter contest. The show was called Toddlers and Tiaras. I was sickened by what I saw. Little girls, toddlers, younger than my own daughter, all dolled up in sequins and heels and jewelry and makeup. Adults cheering. Trophys and cash awarded.

Parents, what are you thinking? These are your little girls! Do you not see the damage you are doing? Teaching them that people will like them if they are pretty. Teaching them that being glamorous is being successful. Teaching them that makeup and glitter make them more beautiful. Come on! This is abhorrent.

I will take tangled hair with bits of jelly in it over sprayed and pinned curls anyday. My daughter's cheeks are pink because she runs outside. If her lips are bright red, she has been eating a popsicle. Her high heels are about 12 sizes too large - because they're mine. She does have some dresses that sparkle, it's true - two of them have fairy wings, all of them have tutus, and most of the time they are worn in some combination with a superhero costume, Curious George glasses, and a stethoscope.

The older my kids get, the less I am inclined to criticize other parents. But this? This is wrong. It's just wrong. It is exploitation of one's own child. It makes me sick.

(I may have to delete this post if I start getting weird search engine traffic. That happened once before due to an innocent combination of words...it was creepy.)

Monday, January 26, 2009

What to do with all those cards

I don't know about you, but I have a hard time throwing away greeting cards. It seems so wasteful. I have saved way too many over the years. (Just ask my husband.) These days I only save those that have real sentimental value to me, but I still feel badly about throwing away any card that someone spent time and money to send to me. I recycle them, but still...

Today I finally found a great way to recycle those cards in a way that makes me feel that their life is not too short. St. Jude's Ranch Recycled Card Program accepts greeting card fronts and, through the efforts of their children and volunteers, turns them into new cards which are then sold to benefit the Ranch.

Please note that they don't accept all cards all the time, so don't use them as a garbage disposal. Right now it looks like they are taking all-occasion greeting cards through the end of February. Check it out!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The One Where I Talk Politics

I don't usually talk politics on this blog, and I'm not really going to talk politics today. After watching the inauguration this morning, though, I've been thinking about our new president and the effect he has had and will have on our country.

Here's the thing. I didn't vote for Obama. I live in Washington, so my political views make me something of an outsider. There are just a few issues on which I cannot compromise, and I cannot knowingly vote for a candidate whose policies will go against my beliefs. I am happy to report, however, that I maintain good relationships with friends and relatives whose viewpoints differ from mine.* And, since I live in Washington, I am used to my candidate of choice not getting elected.

That said, I am not depressed today. I watched the inauguration with interest (my husband taped it for me while I took our daughter to preschool). I think President Obama has already managed to lift the spirits of countless Americans who previously felt that our country would only get worse. There is something to be said for that. The big question is whether he will be able to follow through and validate those hopes.

There is also something great to be said for the joy felt today by those who fought so hard for equality. I would imagine that today represents the long-awaited fulfillment of a hope that saw them through years of great oppression and injustice. My heart filled when I saw the footage of the woman at the National Civil Rights Museum, tears streaming down her face as she watched the inauguration. Obama may not be my first choice for president, but I do believe that today is a great and significant day.

So I enter this new presidential era with my usual mix of hope, curiosity, and skepticism. It's how I think about most political beginnings, regardless of the politician. I'll be praying for President Obama and his administration, for wisdom, honesty, integrity, courage and humility. I'll teach my daughters to respect him, to speak respectfully of him.

My husband said it best when, a few hours after the inauguration, he looked up and said, "Hey, look, the world hasn't been destroyed." I don't think the new administration is going to bring our country into some golden age of happiness and prosperity for all; neither do I think it will usher us into doom and gloom. Life will go on.

*Several years ago, when I was still in the workforce, some coworkers and I started talking politics. As we exchanged viewpoints and it became known that I leaned to the right, one coworker went nuts. She called her sister right then and there, right in front of me, and said, "You're not going to believe this! You know Holly, my coworker? She's Republican! Yes, she is! I know! And I thought she was cool!" She was only half-joking. I don't claim a party affiliation in general, and I told her that, but I couldn't bring her out of her shock. It was pretty funny.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Weekend Happenings

Tonight I find myself tired (and why am I up writing a blog post rather than going to bed?) but content. This weekend we attended the children's Christmas program at our church. It was snowed out twice in December. Okay, so we didn't actually attend the full program. We went for the first fifteen minutes, when the preschoolers sang Go Tell It on the Mountain and Away in a Manger. Here's our little lamb trying to reach her tail:

I spent much of the rest of the weekend rearranging furniture. Does anyone else do that for fun? It's a contagious habit. I caught it from my mother-in-law. Sometimes it becomes quite serious, moving beds and dressers and sofas and such. This can result in exhaustion, backaches and severe eye-rolling, all on the the part of my husband. This weekend I presented with only a mild case of bookcase rearranging. My husband only had to move one piece of furniture for me, one of the larger shelves, and I moved the others around until I was satisfied with their placement. Good times.

How was your weekend?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

We've Come A Long Way, Baby

Yesterday my daughter and I were discussing talent. I told her that people are good at different things. "Like you are good at drawing", I said. She responded, "Yeah, and Daddy is good at working on his computer. [she actually said "his poctuter"] And Sister is good at playing with her toys." "Right. And what do you think Mommy is good at?", I asked.

She thought for a minute. "Um. You are good at cleaning things up."


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Road Construction

The thoroughfare closest to our home has been under construction for seven months. It was supposed to be under construction for "Summer 2008". We haven't bothered to wash our car in months because we drive home on a gravel road every day. This week the road is finally being repaved. This is great news. The delays, on the other hand, are not so great.

Today my daughter's little friend came home from preschool with us. I picked the kids up at 11:00 as usual and headed straight home. At the entrance to the construction zone, the flagger (with whom I now chat quite easily, after months of seeing her every day) informed me that they were paving the intersection leading to my home, and it would be 30-45 minutes before she could let me through. I was frustrated, of course - why hadn't they told me when I left that they were closing the road to my house? But I smiled and said I would be back in 45 minutes. The kids and I turned around and went to get lunch. Taking two hungry, energetic three year olds, both of whom needed a restroom, to lunch was an interesting challenge, but we made it. I was just thankful that the baby was home with my husband, and that I had fed her just before leaving the house.

45 minutes and three lunches that made me cringe later, we returned. A new flagger informed me that he couldn't let me through for....another 45 minutes. By this point the kids really needed a restroom. (Did I mention that neither of them will use a public restroom?) I was certain that I would be spending the afternoon cleaning carseats. My blood pressure went up a bit, but I complacently turned the car around and parked at a nearby high school, trying to figure out what to do. I called my husband, who was home waiting to take the car to a mechanic's appointment. He was stuck, carless, with an infant who was going to need to eat soon. I was stuck in a car with two preschoolers who couldn't understand why we weren't going home to play as promised.

Ten minutes later, my husband called back. He had walked down the road and spoken with the flagger assigned to our intersection. I don't know what he said to the man, but the outcome was, "You can get through now". We had to drive around the long way, about three miles instead of half a mile, but we got through. We rushed the kids inside, sent one to one bathroom and the other to the other bathroom, and...they made it. Thank goodness for strong little bladders.

I still think they should have informed us that they were going to close access to our road for hours. But we're home, we're fed, and the carseats are still dry. All is well.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


I don't know where this originated, but, having blogger's block as I have had, I thought I'd give it a go.

Bold indicates experiences I have had; italics indicate experiences I would like to have; regular font indicates experiences that are not on my life to-do list.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain (unless Mt. Erie counts!)
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Gotten flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Sunday Afternoon

So happy to be sewing again.