April 5, 2016

CAN I GET POLITICAL? BECAUSE, I'M GONNA.

I don't see any way around it, really.

It is the bombardment of the year; constantly streaming from my television, my radio, my internets, my twitter. And it matters. It should probably matter more often but this is the reality and so we deal with it as it comes. Hoping that the momentum and excitement will continue after the presidential inauguration is something we can hold on to and cross fingers for and all that.

I'm going to start this treatise by admitting that to me, flying the american flag from my house has always seemed highly unlikely. I've associated that kind of patriotism with a display of borderline racism, a certain "hot dog, cowboy, go get 'em done and grab your guns" kind of mentality. I don't know why necessarily. It could be that my father's "us vs. them" rhetoric crept into my psyche over the years. It could be my brown, mexican-american skin and the many odd and slightly pejorative comments I've heard over the years. It could be my young and naive mindset. But mostly, I think it's because I hadn't seen many examples of other types of people waving it proudly. To me, I suppose, an American has always been a white person  male.

And this is all slightly ridiculous because hello, I'm an American. My parents are American. Their parents are American. And some of their grandparents were American.  And not in, got their citizenship eventually, please. As in, all of us were born here, most of us don't speak Spanish (regrettably), and few of us have ever been to Mexico for reasons other than to be touristy, get a tan, and drink margaritas and piƱa coladas by the pool. (again, regrettably)

So when Obama ran and won in 2008, I will say that it was the first time in my life that I felt proud to be an American. I actually considered waving a flag from my portico. If I had had a portico. It was a realization that something else is American. Someone else. All someone elses. And if he was the American that we Americans voted in, then to be an American meant so much more. It meant that our flag was a flag of diversity and inclusion and hope and community. And I should have been proud to wave it. Heck, even to slap a sticker of it on my car, on my wall, on my iPhone.

But let's not get carried away.

Patriotism, as with any organized, blind, allegiance, can be a dangerous thing. And I am nothing, if not wary of blind allegiances. See also: On why I'm an Atheist. (sorry, there's no link there but it would be cool if I had already written that piece, right? one day.) See also also: I'm a cynic but like, super fun and cheery because i'm human and we're all sorts of things at the same time. stop putting me in a box! (no link either but i think i'm onto something with that title) So, no, I still don't own an American flag. But I'm not ruling it out either. I'm still cautiously optimistic that I can wave it proudly one day. And here is where this election comes into the forefront.

Given the current Republican party's ideological agenda, I couldn't and wouldn't vote for any of their candidates. I can understand and even empathize with fiscal conservatism but to rule the nation by Christian principles and in the process, spread fear and judgement over all who spark change and progress and encourage equality for ALL, I mean. Let's just stop, please. So you don't understand it, then talk to people who are a part of that change, get to know them, and THEN decide. Goodness. Fear is most often over emphasized. But once you push yourself and get out there and address your fears and insecurities head on, you'll usually find that there is, in fact, nothing to be afraid of, and much to be learned and gained. Who said that? Probably Mary Poppins but she's a jolly holiday and happiness is blooming all around her so get on board already.

Onto the democrats we roll, then. Last fall, when things were just starting to heat up, I went to Vermont to visit family. We stayed in an airbnb cottage and when we pulled up, saw a Bernie Sanders sign in the front yard. Hank remarked on how these were my people already. And he was right, I loved Vermont, I loved our cottage, and I loved the hosts who so generously showed us around their property, the main house, and introduced us to their friend, a Bernie campaign worker. I honestly can't remember much of what I knew before that trip but I do know that after spending time in Burlington, Montpelier, and driving south and enjoying Arlington for a few days, I was feeling quite comfy and cozy in Bernie country. This is not to say that everyone is feeling the Bern in Vermont but I guess you could say that I started to. After reading and researching more about him, it was a done deal. Of course, I am inclined to like a liberal candidate so it wasn't a difficult decision but it feels like it did when Obama was running. It's as though we were on our way to progress in 2008, made a huge leap, and now with Bernie and the enormous influence of social media and the boundless access to information, we can finally wake up and see that we do have a voice. And it's ok if we all have different voices because we can work together and should listen to each other and when we all vote, the majority is heard and progress can be made. It should be an exciting idea for everyone because if we want to live in a prosperous and fair and kind and honest society, then isn't this the way?

America is about people of all cultures and backgrounds and skin colors and orientations coming together and working together and living for the common good.

I believe that Bernie Sanders is the best candidate to foster that mentality and push us on the path to making our country something we can ALL be proud of.

So get ready, flag sellers, because I really hope to be comin' for ya!

xo

March 10, 2016

POTTY TRAINING BOYS :: HOW WE SURVIVED, HAPPILY

Hola! 

Coming at you live from my home office/storage room/workout area. Kids are napping, laundry is washing, dog is fed, and I have a minute or two to myself in which I must decide if I will a) blog, b) write thank you cards, c) clean other areas of the house, d) exercise, or e) none of the above and sit on the couch watching reruns of property brothers or fixer upper. 

I have chosen wisely, I feel. 

ah shit, the little one's awake. do you see what i mean by one minute!? 

....

ok THAT, up there, right there, was written in august of 2015. i apparently never made it back from the baby waking abyss. I often reside there happily as it turns out but good news! i'm here and alive and kinda, sorta, ready to talk about how we potty trained the kid. we'll see how it goes, at least. 

SO

they say boys take longer to feel ready for this. boys, being the males that they are, (hi, i'm sexist it seems) perhaps don't mind sitting in their own soiled garments? as the mom of two boys, it seems a valid point. though, with no baby girls to compare them to, i can only guess at how they feel about the whole pee/poo pants party. 

anywho, since i'd heard this theory much, i decided not to even attempt to train until he was super close to 3 and i was super close to losing my shit over wiping his shit. since his birthday is in september, and it was done in july, i feel i have reason to be proud. ...of my endurance? hmmm

the week we made it happen was deemed a naked week. a naked, probably don't leave your house much, prepare for lots of accidents, week. there were potties everywhere. bathrooms, obvi. hallways. cars. playrooms. bedrooms. backyard.... we weren't taking this lightly. after the first few days, we eliminated the potty parade and would, instead, run to the bathroom. he peed on himself once and was like, woah, not cool mom. he pooped on the carpet in the living room exactly twice! super fun memories. 

after a week, we were pretty good at home. we kept a potty in the car for a month after, i'd say. it came in handy A LOT. many a parking lot was blessed with the boy's pee. many a bush. a few trees.

at night, what did we do? diapers for a few days but i wanted to really commit so we just used underwear. he peed his bed quite a few times, i won't lie. that wasn't my favorite but it stopped relatively quickly and it wasn't every night so ya know, no pain no gain things. 

the point is, you can do this! yes! 



a few accidents have happened since. and there are times he'll dampen his unders before exclaiming, " oops! i have to go to the bathroom, be right back!" 

and we are still in the wiping the bum stage. wherein he calls out to us, after he's done with his biz, to "come wipe my bum!!!" it's a small price to pay for no diapering. i'm not emotionally prepared to tackle moving beyond that quite yet. I figure I have until preschool time, which i suppooooose will be in the fall. though, i'd prefer to just keep him forever. #truth

if you're out there with tips on how to make the wipe your own butt thing happen, please, do tell. 

xo

February 19, 2016

musings and the good people

hello, it's me.

i'm listening to adele again. no surprise and my apologies.

i went out last night with some gal pals and had a lot of wine. we sat and talked about who knows what for 4 hours and probably could have kept going but the restaurant was closing or something ridiculous like that. how about the gloriousness of going out with girlfriends that basically reminds you you're human. and young. and beautiful and freeeeee.

good shit for the soul, i tell you.

we chatted a bit about TV watching and i admitted to loving the view. i knowwwww. but it's the truth and i've been watching and recording it since elizabeth hasslebeck worked hard to be the most annoying person on earth. and did you know she was on survivor? probably. but survivor is like, a henry household favorite, so that's a little disappointing. anyway, i neglected to mention my equally, if not surpassing, love for the ellen show. as such, i'm going to talk about it a little here.

you're welcome.

i'm not even kidding when i say it's a rare day that i don't cry at something on ellen's show. and today, on the episode where adele goes into jamba juice and pranks the baristas, i fell victim to the emotions once again. the kid, guy, who helped adele through all her hilariously silly requests was so genuinely pleasant and kind. he patiently tried to accommodate and was honest and sweet. and then, when ellen brought them into the studio and gave them each $1k gift cards, his reaction, i dunno. just so real. those things kinda kill me. when you go out in public and encounter good, kind people. it just fills you up. so yeah, i got a tiny tear in my eye and felt really good about life. ellen, you kindness spreader, you.

so all that to say that i've had some really great public interactions lately. on making a concerted effort to actually leave my house every day, guys, the dramaaaa, i've had much opportunity to get to know my neighbors and community dwellers. and listen up, folks, the people out there are good. they're smiley and happy and nice and pleasant. moms at the park who feel like chatting. the teenager who holds the door open for you, when all his friends are already walking way ahead of him. the old lady who smiles so sweetly at you and your boys it's as though she's telling you exactly how much she loved her version of your life right this second. the kids who get your kids and play with them like besties from the instant they meet.

so yeah, at the very least there's that.
which is a lot.