Sunday, October 19, 2014

Thing 2 is 4

And he has been for over a month. BETTER LATE THAN NEVER, BLOGOSPHERE.

I’ve been super nostalgic about this kid’s birthday. I think it is because I keep comparing how Thing 3 is at that age of 1 to how his brothers were at that age. This has reminded me of the super sweet, cuddly, funny boy that Thing 2 was as 1 year old. Not that he is not also sweet, cuddly and funny now. He still is. But he has also been a three year old for the past year… which means the sweet, cuddly, funny boy has been disguised as a terrorist for much of the time. And I can see that phase passing. He is becoming more human and more reasonable, slowly but surely. However, it’ll never be the same as when he was in the early toddler stages, and I kinda miss that. He was a pretty easy baby/toddler to take care of. 

I was determined to not have a four year old in diapers, and thought it was only his stubbornness holding us back. So, Husband and I told him that after he was four we weren’t allowed to buy him any more pull-ups because four year olds are not supposed to wear them. Four year olds have to wear nice underwear that they keep dry and clean. We counted down the pull-ups and when they were gone we switched. So, instead of having a four year old in diapers, I had a four year old that was having a lot of accidents. And at first I was just sure it was because he was being stubborn. But it didn’t take long to see that the whole thing was making him miserable. He wanted to do it, and wanted to do well, but he was having so much trouble. And it became pretty clear he was starting to feel a lot of shame about it. I took to the interwebz and have learned that late potty train actually isn’t all that uncommon, and is often because of biology. So we’ve taken a step back. And I have a four year old in pull ups. Whatevs.

Love this kid.

wesley 4 birthday

  DSCN1471
Birthday   1 Year
image   Wesley 3
2 Years   3 Years
wesley is 4
4 Years

Friday, August 29, 2014

I’m All About That Bass, But if You’re Not That’s Okay Too

I’ve had Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass stuck in my head for weeks now. It is unbelievably catchy, and she does have a great voice.  And you just can’t deny a tune that *makes* you move with it.

And I wanted to love it upon first discovering it because of the body positive message. I can get behind lines like this:

I see the magazine workin' that Photoshop
We know that shit ain't real
C'mon now, make it stop
If you got beauty, beauty, just raise 'em up
'Cause every inch of you is perfect
From the bottom to the top

But I struggle with loving the song, because I believe there are some serious missteps. I wish that we could present a body positive message for fuller figures (of which, I have to point Trainor is just barely—she is by no means a “big” girl) without dissing other body types. This song loses me with these lines:

'Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase
And all the right junk in all the right places

Boys like a little more booty to hold at night.

I won't be no stick figure silicone Barbie doll

I'm bringing booty back
Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that

Some of these are less offensive than others. You could probably say any girl of any body type has “junk in all the right places” because whatever that “junk” is, I would hope it would be applied to a wide and inclusive view of beauty. But, I balk at the idea that there is a “boom boom” that all boys chase or that there is a certain body type they prefer to be in bed with at night for a few reasons. First and for most, I hate that any standard of beauty would be defined by the male gaze. But also, there is no one true beauty type for all boys. At least, there sure as hell shouldn’t be. When we are working on body positive thinking, I think we need to work on women (and men) defining their sense of beauty and confidence internally. They should not be dependent on how attractive they think they are to the opposite sex. Especially if they think they need to be attractive to all boys. How daunting is that?

But then Trainor gets even more aggressive using terms like “stick figure silicone Barbie doll.” The implication is that a thin girl is plastic, not real. But her realness and beauty are just as valid as any other body type. I hate that she has to be perceived as unattractive to send a message that full figured girls are also attractive.

And the worst of them all is the phrase “skinny bitches.” Upfront, I’m just going to say that no woman ever should be referred to as a bitch … or compared to an animal/thing in any way. The idea that women do this to each other is maddening. A patriarchal system depends on women being perceived as less than human. Using language that encourages this is never okay. And in the context of this song, the application of the word to skinny/thin women infers a personality trait—a disagreeable one—is connected to a physical trait. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

To be fair, this most offensive line is followed up with the words “No I’m just playing.” But that is not enough. If Trainor wanted to present a true body positive image, she wouldn’t even pretend to demonize all women of a certain body type in order to promote another. Women who are born into thin body types can’t help it any more than women who are born into bodies that are curvy and plump. Vilifying them because our image conscious society is solely focused on them doesn’t help promote an inclusive idea of beauty. It only trades in one evil for another.

Maybe I can’t blame Trainor solely for this though. She had a co-writer, and a lot of times for pop stars that means they sat in the room, maybe giving some input, while a songwriter wrote their song. And then, as it turns out, maybe it was someone else who wrote this song altogether … Either way, even though I might bob my head and sing along when it comes on the radio, I’m super disappointed that it had the potential to be a great feminist song, but failed to send the right message.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Thing 3 is 1

With Thing 1 and 2, I felt like the first year was an eternity. I love babies, but caring for them is exhausting, hard work that I don’t really have the patience for.  Combine that with the PPD and mostly I just feel like I claw my way through the first year of a new person’s life. However, it has been different this time around.  I don’t know if it is because breastfeeding went better, I managed my PPD better, or Thing 3 is just such a happy, easy going person… but this year has flown by.  I can’t believe he is already a toddler! I feel both excited and relieved, and a little bit sad that I blinked and his babyhood was gone.

Alas, here we are. He’s a one year old. A curious, destructive, adorable, infuriating, excessively happy one year old.

 

Wade Birthday Wade 8 17 14
Birth Day 1 Year

Sunday, April 20, 2014

My First Lenten Period (I.E. Happy Easter!)

Every year around February and March I’ve always experienced a kind of holy/religious envy.  Mormons don’t practice Lent, and I’ve always wished that we did.  You know, Christmas is this whole season.  Weeks of celebrating the Savior’s birth.  But, if I may, the Savior’s birth is not what saved me.  It is His sacrifice, His death, and His atonement.  I’ve always thought it was kind of sad that Easter is a week-end ordeal, and that it kind of feels like a blip on the radar.  And so, I’m always jealous of Christians who do practice Lent.  Because their commitment to the Lenten period helps them to stay focused on the “reason for the season” (to borrow a Christmas phrase) and it transforms Easter into the kind of parallel to Christmas that it ought to be. 

This year, I just decided I was going to do it.  And then I learned that I had other Mormon friends that were going to do it. And we came together in a little Facebook group and got our Lenten groove on. 

For my part, I chose not to sacrifice something, but be actively engaged in something.  (For the record, I don’t think either approach is better than the other-it is just a choice.)  I chose to memorize a scripture a day, the theme of which was women in the scriptures.  Delving into and thinking about the lives of biblical women has been a really great exercise for me.  So much (and by this I mean 99.9%) of our worship is told in a male narrative.  Men teach men how to be men of God, and men teach women how to be women of God.  Sometimes this leaves me feeling wanting.  Searching out women of God in the scriptures is a balm.  I think I’m going to continue to do it, even though Lent is over.

Of course, as with the men, not of all of the women in the scriptures are exactly examples of righteous living… but you get my point.

Here is the list of 40 scriptures that I worked on*. Most women got just one verse, but for some I couldn’t decide and so there are two about the same woman:

Genesis 3:6-7
Genesis 7:13
Genesis 21:6
Genesis 21:17
Genesis 24:15
Genesis 30:1
Genesis 38:25
Genesis 39:7
Genesis 46:20
Exodus 15:20-21
Joshua 2:12
Judges 4:4-5
Judges 4:21
Judges 5:7
Judges 5:24
Judges 11:36
Judges 16:18
Ruth 1:16
Ruth 3:1
1 Samuel 2:1
2 Samuel 3:3
2 Samuel 12:24
2 Samuel 13:20
2 Samuel 21:10
2 Kings 9:7
2 Chronicles 34:22
Esther 1:12
Esther 7:3
Matthew 15:22
Matthew 27:19
Mark 6:25
Luke 1:24-25
Luke 1:46-48
Luke 2:36
John 4:25
John 11:20-21
John 12:3
John 20:15
Acts 9:36
Moses 5:11


*I say “worked on” because there came a point when memorizing them was not really the focus.  It was searching out and learning about the women that became the thing.  I did attempt memorization, but if I’m honest it was half-hearted.  I was way more interested in searching the internets for clues about the women.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Are Mommy Wars Still a Thing?

A Community of Mothers

I don’t know what it is.  Maybe it was the 8 months of bed rest wherein I mostly tried to not feeling sick and distracted myself by playing Farmville 2 and Candy Crush all the time.  Maybe it is having a third child and so I am now serving more dictators than I have hands.  Maybe it is the battle with post partum depression that makes all that this entails seem so much more impossible.  But for awhile there, I’d forgotten I was supposed engage in all manner of conversations on the right way to rear children.

I guess I’ve remembered now?  But, I think I have come to a place wherein I just could care less how you are raising your children.  Given that you are not neglectful and not abusive, then mostly I give you mad props for keeping the kids alive.

Every now and again, my head emerges from the newborn-pattern-of-sleep fog, and I notice that there is some new debate.  I posted an article to Facebook about vaccination recently.  No debate ensued (thank you for that, Facebook friends) but then a few days later I saw a counter argument article that was a response to the article I had posted.  I realized that posting it, I had unwittingly engaged in a battle.  I regret it.  I don’t like the idea that someone saw my post and felt like I was judging them for making a different call than I made.  I generally have an opinion on these matters, of course—related to what I’ve decided to do for my own family.  But… sakes alive I feel like I’m just treading water here.  Not to mention searching blindly in the dark for the solution to every problem that is “just right” for my children.  I just don’t have the time or energy to keep tabs on whether your solutions look like my solutions. 

If other parents feel the way I do about parenting (i.e. totally overwhelmed), chances are we just need to offer each other a lot more support.  The end.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Ordain Women, April 5th Priesthood Session Action: My Story

Joining my sisters (and brothers!) in standing in line to attempt to get into the priesthood session was not an easy decision.  I have, for awhile, kept myself on the fence on this issue.  Mostly because of fear.  I’ve long since known how I *really* felt about it. But, I’ve come down from the fence and picked a side.  Authenticity is super.  

My interest in going this year, and outing myself on this issue, began last October, when Ordain Women first tried to get into the priesthood session.  You see, I was unduly optimistic about the venture.  I’m not sure why, thinking back… but I was absolutely convinced that they would be let in.  If not into the conference session where the live meeting is filmed, surely into the tabernacle or something… In my mind, it was simply the Christ-like thing to do.  But I was wrong, and it hurt.  And watching the scene unfold from afar was more painful than I expected it to be.

So when I made the decision to try to go this year, it was with the knowledge that however hard it would be, it would not be as hard as not being there.

My trip was fast, and much of it is a blur.  I was tired for most of it, feeling kind of ill because I was away from my nursing baby for too long, and generally a bundle of stress and nerves.  I arrived in Salt Lake City late Friday night, and I left very early Sunday morning.  But in the blur, there are moments that stand out.  Most of those moments are centered around the most fantastic people with whom I spent the day.  There were hugs, tears, laughter, and a whole lot of love.

There are a few other moments that stand out that I want to share.

The first I experienced because I volunteered to help keep track of the line and make sure people knew where to go, what was going on, and then if conflict arose, I was there to help dispel it (which was never necessary, for the record).  And so I found myself out ahead of the line of women (and men!) before they began the advance from City Creek Park towards Temple Square.  I stood at my corner and watched as it began.  The group, with Ordain Women leaders in the front, came across the street through a crowd of protestors who were shouting the most hateful things.  But, truth be told, I barely noticed that.  Because I was so taken back by the dignity and majesty of the women coming across the street towards me.  I mean it was raining, the wind was blowing, this was just before we got some serious hail, and these women managed to be majestic nonetheless.  The image was so striking, and it took my breath away.  And as I watched this scene unfold, D&C 84:88 popped into my head:

And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.

Another moment that stood out was when I was helping the line wrap around the tabernacle.  A group of young men passed me and started to get in the line.  Someone from security came up to them and directed them to another door, where they were just allowed to enter and find a seat.  I got the sads.  I had to take a step away and pull myself together before I could go back to helping people line up and keep organized, so that they could wait however long it took to be denied the entrance that was so easily granted to those children.  It just made my heart hurt.

The next moment, that I will never forget, is of course the moment I was able to stand at the door of the tabernacle and request entrance into the priesthood session.  The PR representative, Kim Farrah, was very kind and very gracious.  I have so much measkingfilterrespect for this woman who stood at the head of that line and met each request (there were over 500 of us!) until the line was gone.  She exemplified the baptismal covenant to mourn with those who mourn.  She cried with us, laughed with us, hugged us, showed love, thanked us for coming, and let us know that we’d been heard.

Nonetheless, the answer was still no.  While I very much appreciated her Christ-like deliverance of the rejection… the rejection still stung.  Especially because she told me that the meeting was reserved for men and boys, but I know for a fact that the building was mostly empty on the inside.  It hurts that empty pews were preferable to pews filled with women. When I came out of the line, someone—a woman who was standing by and watching the events unfold, I don’t think she was with us—asked me, “What’d she say?” I told her, “That the meeting was reserved for men and boys.”

“Even if they are nonmembers?  Even if they aren’t worthy?”

“Well, yes.  Any male 12 or older can go in, no matter who they are.”

“But not you.”

“No. Not me.”

The last moment I’ll not forget was when I discovered the church’s PR department press release.  There was actually a rumor going around that the press release was written the night before.  It could have been, for all of the accuracy it contained.  It was a poor description of facts, attitude, and tone.  Its author, this Cody Craynor, I don’t think was ven at temple square on Saturday (or if he was in the beginning, he did not hang around long), and so I’m not sure why he is the one characterizing the event.  I *was* there, and so what I can tell you is that we were respectful, patient, that we were never asked to leave, that we were never given directions that we did not follow, that they not only knew we were coming, but had already set up a special stand by line for us when we got there, and, as I mentioned before had stationed a wonderfully kind woman to greet us.  To see such a dignified display of graciousness and faith, to see upfront the response from people in and around temple square—both bystanders and employees—and to know without doubt that we were not perceived as divisive or distracting by the people who were actually there…. and then to find out that instead of portraying the event as it really happened, the church’s PR department chose to “spin” the story in an ugly way… I’m just having a hard time reconciling this corporate PR political game with the religion that I know and love.  I’m having a hard time reconciling the church that I love with the institution that would handle me so deceitfully and unjustly. I’m just not sure what to do with that.

But, I’m not ready to give up on my faith yet.  Cody Craynor cannot get rid of me so easily.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Thing 1 is 5

…and almost 3 months. But listen, when he actually turned five in December I was very busy. And then I forgot. But I don’t want to not do it at all, because these birthday posts have become kind of a thing for me. Mostly because of the pictures. So, anyway…

Thing 1 spends his time playing with Thing 2, or fighting with Thing 2.  No matter which, the two can not stand to be separated for long. Their favorite things these days are playing in the back yard, playing with Legos, and playing with trains.  And watching Netflix.

He is, as always, incredibly bright and incredibly intense.  He lives life full throttle, and doesn’t seem to have any in between or “meh” emotions. While this is often difficult and frustrating, I do so love how intensely he loves the people around him.  He is so dynamic and so full of life, I feel like he will do amazing things as he grows as long as I don’t screw him up before he gets the chance.

I present:

   
Birth Day   1 Year   2 Years
    DSCN2475
3 Year   4 Year   5 Year

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